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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just a Little Vent......


Yet another pic of the style that looks really nice on lots of people but doesn't sell.

However, I must make a point here, just to get it out!!!!!!! Why do some people think that because they are dealing with an individual and not a huge company that they can pay for their merchandise when they receive it!!!!!!

Do LL Bean, Sundance, Amazon.com and their ilk send you your choices and then sit back and wait for you to see if you like it and send them a cheque? Do they say send the cheque when you can if you don't use a credit card? NO! Why then do some of the people I deal with at a show, taking an order, measuring, photographing, special ordering the yarn, making up a pattern to fit, spend the time making the garment and it's the buttons, tell me that they will send me their cheque when they get the sweater!!!!

Unfortunately it does happen that I must send out a cardi to meet a deadline for a client and usually that client puts their cheque in the post immediately so I will be paid when they get their order (if not using a credit card). But their is the odd one who will keep me waiting as I keep my end of the bargain.

Now, I've never been 'stiffed' as they say, but I just think it is rude to tell me you'll pay when you get it, especially if you are a new client. I will work out anything with an established client as there is history and trust. But if I am new to you and haven't proved myself to you, then you are just as new to me and I let hundreds of dollars of work and materials go and trust I'll get paid. That's asking an awful lot of my trust when you know you've got me by my promised timeline.

I recently had a client express surprise that I would want paying up front, before I sent out the merchandise...... I was floored. I asked her if Holt Renfrew let her do that.


I work through lack of sleep, illness and far into the night to keep my clients happy and if telling them I've been in business nearly a quarter of a century isnt' enough to let them know I'm not a 'fly by night' then I don't know what is.

Well, to whoever is listening, thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Two Beauties?!


This is me (dark... with specs) and my neighbour at the recent One of a Kind Chicago show. Jennifer is a potter and has wonderful designs that would also look good knit up somehow! Waterside Studio is her work's monika, and he Mum helps her out in her lovely booth. I need a desk too to keep my crap behind so my booth looks tidy too!!!

Anway, I'm wearing one of my inventory and love the way it looks... howeve no one goes for this style and I love it. The neck's a bit of a trial to work out but I love the effect.

Yes... I know the hem is wonky.. it's supposed to be...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Homeward Bound


Well, the show was great success and I had a lot of fun. Sometimes the most fun was sitting on the floor playing 'Skip-Bo' with my friends' two boys! I't's so fun to play kids card games!!

Anyway, we had a few stops in East Lansing one of which was 'Elderly' Instruments which seems to be a haven for guitar enthusiasts, even I wandered around awed, wow! What a selection.

This (unfortunately dark... it was pouring down rain) photo is of my other half happily standing on the steps of the store in the old IOOF building in Lansing.

Hey.. the fun never stops.

Monday, December 11, 2006

End of the Yarn... Show Over!


Well, sigh and yipee... the last (and biggest) show of the year is over, and though I have a ton of my cardis to knit before Christmas and get them to my clients the pressure and stress isn't the same.

The Chicago One of a Kind is great and it was neat this year in that it was grown by 100 artisans and we had 52 Canadian artists. Busy, lots of fab stufff to see and learn from, colleagues it was good to see here.

Among my clients was this one pictured above modelling one of my older cardis (which I wear all the time) who, as you can see, took her job as a model seriously!!!

Now for home.....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Day Two.


No, this has nothing to do with being a fibre artist in a craft show but having interesting friends. Our friends showed us a house in transition and this is one of the bathrooms, the decor is red... right down to the toe nails on the claw footed tub!!!

Further to Day One.


Ok, so now I have a photo. It's me in my booth just as opening night is getting rolling. I think I have my act together! My other half is nowhere to be found at this point (I use a tripod & 10 second delay to take the pic) but it's nice and quiet... before the booze hits the punters.... sorry... before the guests have had their first glass of wine.

... Then.. I spy him, coming down a nearby aisle with no less than two martini glasses in his hands. They're the libation du jour: Sreetinis... the other one with pommegranate I find out later is a Shopaholic. Well, I loooove my Spreetini and the evening goes OK.. not gangbusters but OK.

I sadly found out that the old shoes I love and dyed black strank!! Now my feet are killing me!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Day One at One of a Kind Chicago

Well, first, I have not photo to post... well I do but it's still in the camera along with pics of the booth and some photos of clients which I took for their files.

For five years, I've been showing up on the morning of the first day and setting up before they boot us out at noon. So much is supplied (carpet, lights, hard walls painted your colour selection) that it's not such a big deal. This year, however, wanting to arrive earlier at our friends' house and spend more time we tore through Michigan and got to the Mart at oneish, off loaded my forms and stuff and after parking the van in our fave cheap lot a couple of blocks across the river, arrived at the booth.

Nice colour that tealy blue, I thought ....... but I always have my booth white! Now, I subscribe to the 'if you don't submit a colour pref it'll get painted white anyway school of selection but this year that didn't work. I'm 5129 and next to me is 5129A, apparently the painters got mixed up and 'A' got my white walls. Brianne walked by got on the cell phone and before too long a couple of blokes with rollers on long poles had my booth white again (two coats) and 'A' was their requested blue!!! Of course that has left us with less square footage (two coats of that stuff is thick!) just kidding ... it's great.

Well, I'll get a photo soon and remember: Wherever you go.... there you are.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Really Big Show!


I

Can't really believe I'm sitting in a motel room en route to Chicago for the final show of the year. My knits and I are returning to the One of a Kind show at the Merchandise Mart for four days.

It's been simply ages since I posted and this is why, I've been mired in prep for this last show. This pic I took while taking a bunch of photos of my recent cardis before packing them up and sending them out.

I'd love to stay and chat but I want to make good time tomorrow so I'm away to my motel bed!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Workshop Results


I recently had a workshop on Cochenille's Garment Designer pattern making software and one of the attendees, Marthe, was French, (she drove all the way from the other side of Ottawa so she came a long way), and had a little trouble with what I was telling everyone. (June 12th's Blog: Garement Designer Workshop North).

Translating into English sometimes was a bit tricky and we all got into the act. Aferwards I invited everyone to email me if they had anymore questions or got stuck and Marthe emailed me a few times and also Cochenille. Then she decided to just take a break and come back to it after her family had spent time visiting. I wished her well.

Yesterday... I got a lovely email with a photo of her endeavour on Garment Designer.... an absolutely beautiful baby jacket in an interesting tuck stitch. In the larger pic I have I can see how wonderfully well it is knit, I'm so pleased withg Marthe's results.

Go Marthe!!!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Tools!!! Gott 'em!



How wonderful is this? Ebay finally found, in their lovely search facility, the tools I have been seeking for months! (See May 5th's post) Pictured above are the ones I craved though a couple of others came in the 'lot' that I don't need or cannot use.

I move large bunches of stitches at once in my designs and I would rather do it all at once and the 7pronger just doesn't cut it (love it though I do). Now I have my pick and the ones with 10 prongs on one end and 12 on the other are fab!

..heaven, I'm in heaven... OK so I'm a cheap date!

Weekend Machine Knitting Workshop



OK, too long since I posted, not that I haven't had anything happen, just, perhaps, too much happening that kept me away from this segment of cyber space!

I had a weekend workshop in my studio and though I only had two who could make it on that particular weekend, and I like to have three or four, I went ahead with it anyway. The two who graced my studio with their presence are good friends and just went to the last Erie BonnOK, too long since I posted, not that I haven't had anything happen, just, perhaps, too much happening that kept me away from this segment of cyber space!

I had a weekend workshop in my studio and though I only had two who could make it on that particular weekend, and I like to have three or four, I went ahead with it anyway. The two who graced my studio with their presence are good friends and just went to the last Erie Bonnie Triola seminar so I though they should steep themselves in machine knitting while stuff was stiff active in their thoughts.

We had a great time but I brooked no argument. Rose was told to bring her own machine though I have the exact same on in my studio.... hers needed a workout and she needed to get to know her machine...not mine! She thanked me and I felt better about making her pack it up and lug it across town.

Sonja brought just about everything she could think of from home in Toronto (including several books, two machines and various parts, umpteen cones of yarn and a bottle of excellent home made sherry!!!)

Rose made a sweater (or most of it) that we had chosen from a past Machine Knitting News and Sonja made one we designed in Garment Designer. This invoved swatch making and measuring, experimenting with different tensions with their chosen yarn, then getting rolling and ploughing on. As they are relatively newbies I was happy to be able to give them as much attention as possible. I want more machine knitters on this planet!!

In the photos you can see the effort (Rose) and fun (Sonja) that was had!!! I'm planning another in the Winter but I think it's filled!!! More MKers!!!!! Yeah!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Studio Tour

Well, it's Studio Tour time here again in Kingston and there is a quiet spot after our lunch so I thought I'd post.

Bucketed down this morning and we despaired having anyone brave the elephants to come out.... then we found ourselves knee deep in visitors. Now the sun is out and a much nicer time to wander from the car to the studio....

... opps! People... gotta go!

PS Location 15 on the map, stop by!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Steph's Amazing Needles




Just so cool... my neighbour's sister in England has been doing some fibre art/knitting/college project thingy in 'Here Gallery' called, I think, 'Twisted: Knitting on the Edge' in Bristol that I just find neat to look at. I got sent some pictures of her giant needles and of Steph working that I just had to share.

Amazing when you let your imagination just run away with you... in knitting week in Britain!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Random Act of Kindness!

Well, I know it was planned, Brianne told me so, but it was so significant! Brianne Begani is in sales at the One of a Kind Chicago Show which happens in December and is one of the key contact person at the show.

Anyway, Friday.... I'm mired in work, it's been a funny year. I've missed the mark on one or two (or so) fits and though the garments have been carefully worked on and are perfect in every other way I have to alter or remake. Other stuff which made taking any time off over the Summer impossible and now I'm full tilt into fall and the lead up to the three shows left and to get the best return from them to get me through the Winter... and we've had a new roof put on the house I really feel like a starving artist..... Brianne calls.


I won't go into details but I never forget the kindnesses shown me by the folks at this US version of the long lived Canadian show and this day, especially Brianne to whom I'm old enough to be a Mother. We had a great chat, she listened to what I had to say and a few of my gripes and a giggle or two (I think I was laughing at my frailties) but when we hung up I realized I've never received a call like that from the Canadian show and the closest I got to personal attention was from long gone Marty who, for his faults, was a people person. I felt important, I felt I mattered which is good for someone who works alone all the time and can get a little too turned inward.


This was a courtesy call which means she'll be on the phone for days (I'm in the B's). All I can say is a hearty Thank You Brianne!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A 'Novel' Idea.


Yes, I know, sad title for this post really but applicable. Actually got out of the studio Saturday evening and went to a book launch to support our neighbour David More who has just finished his first novel 'The Eastern Door'.

After wine and nibbles, catching up with some old friends and much book signing, Dave gave a lovely speech and then gave us three readings, including a passage from a future book. This is a book about the early days of Northern New York State (well, 1700's) and our protagonist is an idealisitc young man from Ireland who comes to this neck of the woods after some conflict in the old country.

I'm looking forward to digging into this, perhaps over the winter when my work load eases some and I can keep my eyes open when not knitting or doing a show. It promises
'history, military strategies and romance' and has it's roots in the history of that time and place.

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Dave, as another artisan toiling away behind clapboard and/or limestone walls.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Little Ladies


I just wrote all this, clicked something WRONG and have to write it all over again...sheesh.

Well, this is about my day off after the semimar. My other half had spied a yard sale headed 'Seamstress Quits' in the paper and was then heading downtown to the Sunday Antique Market.

At the former I found 'Mabel' a well used sponge dress form (great for pinning) and decided she needed a second career. The seastress in question turned out to be an old family friend so it was meant to be.

The latter found me glomming on to two tiny mannequins which (I'm sure) had my name on them. Cash poor from the trip and Mabel, husband chipped in and they are now mine.

I guess I'll have to name them...hmmmm...Judi & Punch! Jill & Jill?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bonnie's Last M Knitting Blast!



Road Trip!!!! Three women, one red car and a machine knitting seminar, the Bonnie Triola seminar, to get to. We arrived to late to find a bottle of wine to relax after the long road trip so I dug out some chai tea bags and we hit the hay.

A busy first day, getting registered, breakfast, hunting down fruit then deciding which classes to attend.... Mary Anne Oger won out with her 'The Necks Best Thing' (I always learn something from her) ... and on we went to other classes and to lunch too.

I was a bit bored in the afternoon and took off seeking that bottle of wine for the girls and just to get outside...I guess I spend too much time inside my studio. Rose went for a run, I for a swim, Sonja chilled and we were good to go for the evening of dinner and the fashion show, and this year I had brought five cardigans out of stock.

Well, the best part of the seminar was the other women, talking shop, connecting. renewing friendships, did I mention talking shop? Discussing machines, yarn, computer programs, designing, studio time and on and on. Meeting new people and finding out what they are all about, where they're coming from, what they know and where their talents lie..... I love that part so much.

Carol introduced me to Joyce who's Yarn Collage class I had taken, we talked about their fashion careers. I found out that since I last saw her Carol was working with Susan Lazear of Cochenille Garment Designer and talked about how many more folk are using it and we need more tuition.

Well, pictured above are the Two J's Judith and Jackie in their versions of my "Robin" design (they looked fab!!!) and then Sonja and Rose ready to hit the 'runway' in their colourful knits.

Now we're looking forward to next year.... two more hours drive in Cleveland as that's where the new owner Sue Jaloweic lives... I'll drive it!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Socks Apeal or New Socks.


Thank heaven for junk or 'yard sale' stores and the husbands who frequent them. My husband goes out, I don't know where he is (he works at home) but he comes home with the faint odor of... no, not perfume, not booze but mildew from rooting through these establishments! Today he came home with a pile of neat stuff and one of the old knitting patterns was this one for 'New Socks'.

This pattern is from Patons and Baldwins and was 'especially designed' for the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto by a Mrs. N. Jarvis Allen. It lookes like it was done in the what looks like the '40's... there's no date on the pattern. The two styles are called 'Grandstand' where I have seen the Blue Jays, a rodeo and the Beach Boys, and the 'Midway' where I have staggered more than once vowing to stick to the mild 'ghost train' after spending too much time upside down spinning in the air miles (well... seemed like it)over the fairground.

The yarn to be used was P & B 'Patonised' wool. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows what that is!

The keen thing about these socks is that they are knit flat, working the upper, patterned part of the sock then working the toe, foot, heel and back leg afterwards and attatching.

Inside it says 'Patent Pending'.... as this is the first time I've seen this way of knitting socks... well... I don't think it ... well ... 'took'. The upper part is knit from the back of the leg, around the front and over the instep then around to the back of the leg again. The foot has a panel that goes up between the two edges of knitting forming a closing panel at the back of the leg.

There's just something satisfying about going round and round and round and round on those four needles.....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Polymer Clay Birthday Box


How wonderful for my friend Georgia to give me this little box which she made for me for my birthday.

It's the little ball of wool of polymer clay 'yarn' on top complete with tiny knitting needles and real cotton which Georgia managed to actually knit that gets me. I was overwhelmed at it's ..... hmmmmmm... beauty, sweetness, perfection? Not sure how to describe it.....

.....just.... that I love it! Thanks G.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Slow, Slow, Knit, Knit, Slow.


Well, I'm knitting as fast as I can, however, things have gone very slowly over the Summer and I feel so behind in my orders for my knit cardigan jackets.

The cardi in the pic is one I designed last Fall and did so well with in Chicago at the One of a Kind Show there in December. I had nine orders and sold one of the two samples I took with me.

I then showed it in Toronto and Ottawa at the Spring shows this year and, of course, someone asked for it in Cotton.... I had only done it in wool... my favourite medium to knit with both hand and machine. If I didn't have to make a living and sell year round and have clients who couldn't wear Wool or just prefer cotton, I'd probably not do much with it.

I did the orders, I sent them out to the clients and as cotton knits up firmer than wool, without the lovely elasticity, some of them came back because of fit. As you cannot alter knitwear as you can sewn items of fabric this means starting from scratch and a redo for each one. This lovely little number has been the bane of my existance trying to work it in cotton and get the fit right. Tweaking the pattern in the Garment Designer software isn't enough, I have to fit and see that what's on paper actually works in the selected material.

Well, I think I'm getting there but I've a raft more orders in holding pattern in my studio... sometimes I think I here them each morning as I open up.....

......'pick me, pick me'!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Shops and Shopping 1800's Style


I just renewed my loan on this book, I really want to keep it but the library wouldn't be too pleased. I'll have to search for it as it has lots in it about the Wool Movement of the mid 1800's.

The illustration is from a company started in 1846 to sell hand knitted underwear. They did that for many years, moved to London in 1892 and there still was a Mr Bill in 1964 at the time of the prining of this book!

They sold Shetland knit underwear as the Shetland yarn was very soft, smooth and light.

W Bill was written up in Sylvia's Home Journal in 1881 and this helped promote them, no doubt spurring on their big city move and to persue wholesale and also the sale of outer garments in 1910.

I do remember wool being used for baby clothes when I was a kid in England in the '50's. Were kids hardier or was the wool softer? More investigations needed... how exciting, I'd love to get my hands on samples from early in the last century.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Summer Knitting...mmmmm!



Well, I know it looks in these pics like I've been skiving off from the studio but it got so hot I just couldn't function in the studio anymore the last couple of weeks. I've a studio full of windows and a skylight, ceiling fans and a breeze from Lake Ontario a block away but it just went into AC type weather and we don't have that in our house or my studio...so it was off to the beach.

The Sandbanks in Prince Edward County is a great place to knit once you find a shady spot and have also stuck a couple of brightly coloured sun unbrellas you've dug up from the basement firmly in the sand. That day was an incredibly hot day but there was an amazing breeze off the lake.

I've been struggling with the lacey intricacies of the Mexican Edging on bag #20 from the book 'Bags - a Knitter's Dozen' and though I'm usually fine with complicated lace patterns this one has me pulling out and going back and back!!!!!!!!!! I'm determined to master it as it'd make a cute cell phone pocket.

A few days later a windsurfing and boating friend of ours took us over to Clayton NY to the Antique Boat Museum for their annual boat show and auction. A beautiful day with an hour across the lake an around some of the 1000 islands looking at amazing 'cottages'.

Well, now it's cooler I'm back in the studio getting ready for the Sheep Dog Trials this weekend at Grass Creek Park between Kingston and Gananoque. As I'll be in an artisan's tent with other fibre people perhaps I'll get this lace pattern down with a little help and the quiet times when every one is watching the sheep!!!!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Shopping 19th Century Style!


Well, cruisng the library for something else I found a wonderful book in the business section: 'Shops and Shopping 1800 - 1914'. Yes, it really is a book about what it says. I've just dipped into it so far but I've decided that I have to find a copy for my own library in my studio.

Women have been hanging around to see and be seen, to pick up the latest fashions, to drive up and down (albeit in carriages) and so on, for centuries. This book is a wealth of information on anything to do with clothing in the 114 years before the first World War. I'm learning more about the vendors of silks, gloves, parasols, how they were made and marketed. I learned that the sewing machine, which I thought was invented in the US in 1832, was first shown in France in 1829 by a tailor by the name of Barthélemy Thimmonier, it was viewed with outrage by tailors when he introduced it into his Parisian clothing factory and smashed. Though the French Revolution ruined him in '48 he showed it at the Great Exhibition in 1851 but no interest was taken in his invention.

Now, being of the knitting persuasion, I found the chapter on The Woolen Movement to be most fascinating. Dr. Gustave Jaeger expounded his theory on humans wearing animal materials (wool) instead of vegetable (cotton) and that this was'sanitary'. The illustration shows Harborow's which, in 1887, had a 'worldwide reputation for their pure British wool underclothing for gentlemen'. Seems to me men were made of sterner stuff back then!!!

At that time men were wearing hand knitted 'Jerseys, Cardigans, Vests, Spencers, Combinations, etc...' However, these were of the finest, hand spun Shetland and anyone who knows has felt the softness of that yarn. Growing up in the '50's (... no, no, no, the 1950's ... I'm not that old!!), babies and kids wore woolies. Before central heating and in a damp climate there's nothing better.

Still wandering through this tome and loving it. I'll post from this book again.... fascinating for anyone in clothing and wearables.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Busman's (knitter's) Holiday



That usually means going away and doing just what you do in your everyday life....well I sort of just did just that this past weekend but as my shows are over for the Summer it was different! I stood in for a friend.

Friday afternoon was spent in a show tent in a park, something I had done two weekends in a row earlier this month, but it's so different when it's someone else's artwork, there's a certain freedom when it's a different medium and totally different work. My friend Susan Watson Ellis of Paradigm Designs was teaching in Haliburton but had the local Summer show, I manned her booth while she was unavailable and thoroughly enjoyed looking at and talking about jewellery with it's silver and unusual stones...(the gold was left safely in the studio). The responsibility for selling is the same, especially as we both work in 'adornment', but I didn't have to 'take home' the ups and downs of the day as I do with my own work, hence I think I might have had a lighter spirit during my 'gig'.

The setting was beautiful, a stream with willows and other trees as a backdrop behind the tent. Except for some of the artisans I knew none of the people who came by so lots of new faces and new surroundings.

Before heading to the park to open up the booth we were shown around the sculpture garden (a wooded walk) at Flemming College by Susan's husband Jeff, himself a silversmith. The pic shown here is Jeff, my other half, Clint, and me standing with a moose of all sorts of metal bits. (I'm not describing this well not being a metal sculptor). I'm always amazed at other artists' work.

We got to explore Haliburton for the first time, the village and it's food!!!

Especially the buttertarts!!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Show Surge Over... again...


It's been a long time since my last post.... too long. Show time again is the cause of that. Yes, That's me in my booth at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition last weekend. Another hot weekend though not quite as bad as last year when it seemed to be 100 degrees in the shade and there was preciouse little of that.

We had to compete with the usual Yonge Street fair and the races (what used to be the Molson Indy) but this year was the most beautiful game in the world....soccer. Lots of Italian fans in TO meant they were probably in the bars and not looking at artwork.... There's always something but sometimes the planets align and a show is incredible. Anyway, I had emailed clients and a lot of folk showed up Friday and I got to see people I hadn't seen in ages.

The weekend before was Fanfayr in Kington, ON. The powers that be have decreed that there are so many people in the one lakeside park downtown for the 15 minutes of fireworks on Canada Day night that all we hard working artisans have to pack up our tents and get out!!! Forget that Sunday might be a great day for us to add to our income and that there is probably a bunch of folk showing up and wondering where we were (I've spoken to some).... 'cause all craft shows go both Saturday and Sunday, eh? Not Kingston. Now they want to move us out of the park completley... where the show has run for 24 years!

Now I'm just exhausted from the workload of orders from the Spring shows...which I'm still working on, the prep for the two shows back to back and trying to keep my ladies happy... not always easy when you're the chief cook and bottle washer!!!

I think, on my other half's advice, it's a break at the beach tomorrow...aaaaaah!

Now I'm just exhausted

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sad Note....


I got an email the other day from a client who is a very sweet woman, we came to know each other a bit better over some trials and tibulations with her order and fitting. The last time I saw her we had a lovely chat and she told me she wouldn't be ordering somthing she had her eye on as she was devoting time to her ailing husband.... the email was to let me know he had passed away....

I was unbelievably saddened by he news as I thought he might live longer, I responded as best I could to express my sympathy.

A few years ago I did work for the Stratford Festival using sock yarn, then I used up the left overs making funky socks to sell in my booth (the only hand knit work I ever sell). At a Summe show a young woman came up to me to remind me that she had bought a pair for her Dad... I did remember. She told me that he had passed away and was buried in those socks as they were his favourite!!! I was blown away and flattered too.

I often think that what I do, creating lovely cardigans and knits for mostly women, is superficial but I'm told by my ladies that my work is fun and happy. Then I get this sort of news and realize that what I do does affect people positively, and I'm glad I can help in any way....even if it's only to spread some colour in the world and do it with joy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's Happened Again!

OK, so I take lots of orders at shows...it's my living and it's work. Also, I find it hard to say no to customers new and old. They are especially clients who return, we know each other better, I know what their style is, they know how I work and it's fun designing, even if it's only changing the colours on a particular style.

I find it easier to do all (or most) of the orders of one style at once because I get on a roll, gather momentum and make fewer mistakes...which take time to reverse. I do the ones first that have a deadline, which are needed for an event or trip, then I plod through then rest of the orders.... yarn arrival permitting. Well, I have a couple of items which I did a while ago and contacting the client for the balance payment has not resulted in a reply (email or phone), I find they are away on business or vacation. Then I get a phone call for an item which I'm just about to get to in the next couple of weeks ..... and it's needed 'yesterday'!!! Too bad when I've rushed to get something done and it sits in my studio for weeks awaiting a response from my client.

I guess this will always happen now and again, however I have been knitting some things in cotton using a looser stitch size and less machine tool manipulating shaping, I'm doing the shaping afterwards in some other way (cord, sewing tucks etc)......so....

....my wrists feels much better! Hooray!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Garment Designer Workshop (North!)


Well, it finally got done, my workshop for Cochenille's Garment Designer application for patternmaking for knitters and sewers. In attendance were three wonderful women (pictured, above, in my studio) Sonja, Marthe and Cathy. It was 'Ladies... start your laptops' and away we went. This was a workshop for newbies who had purchased the software but now wanted to know where to start and how to really used it.

I have been using this app for years in my knitwaear business so I took them through my method for setting up for making a pattern for me to use on my knitting machine. Starting with checking gauge, what to show in the window, using decimals, metric and so on. Then on to the fields where you can write any info you need for reference to appear on your printed pattern, making and/or checking the sloper behind the pattern, on to setting up the page to print it out for ease of use.

We expored the 'click and drag' options for tweaking the pattern to our heart's desires beyond basic fit. We expored all the extras in the two design sets - different collars, front closings etc and when the mind boggled, eyes going square and we were starting to get overloaded we headed up the road to Tim Horton's for our lunch. The fresh air and sustenance was much needed to take us through the afternoon.

There is so much to this application that I didn't get to the design games or looking at Stitch Painter! I had the girls look at one of my designs, however, and then create the pattern for it.

I got to share with the ladies photos from the Design Retreat last September in California and from my UK trip to see 1850's knitting frames .

Before we parted company we partook of Sonja's contribution of Rhubarb Pie!! Unfortunately Cathy had left but it was a welcom bit of 'sweet'.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Yard Sale Find for the Studio.



Well, a very nice lady in town is moving to Hawaii and apparently won't be doing any pressing when she gets there. I picked up this wonderful little 'tool' which I now cannot imagine being without!! It's a mesh sheet which you use as a pressing cloth. Now, all my old pressing cloths were in actual fact .... bandanas. Yeah, well, I used to wear them on my head back in the '70's and had quite a collection, being 100% cotton they were great for using with a spritzer bottle to press stuff. This one is very 21st century and I don't know why I haven't seen one in my travels. I've never ever seen one before!!!

For a knitter like me who presses everything, especially seams, lots of steam is used for both wool and cotton, however I sometimes get a teeny bit of shine and spend a lot of time steaming and patting where I just steamed with my hand. This mesh is of some unknown fibre which is heat resistant and see through so you can see what you're doing and instead of a spritzer bottle you just use the steam from the iron. The iron is on the item being pressed but slightly separated so if you move the iron back and forth... no direct contact so no shine.

I have no idea where to get another one but it's on my 'lookout' list when wandering the shops and dollar stores (along with the 47 prong tool). I buy Tefal irons fairly regularly but when I'm in the Bay housewares dept I don't look around at other ironing paraphernalia so maybe I've been missing this nifty little purchase.

If anyone knows anything about this item please let me know, get one yourselves too.

..... I love it!!!!!!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Me!!!


A few days ago I realized that today marks the day 24 years ago I walked in to a building on University Avenue, Toronto, to register my business. Whew! I've been doing this a long time, not done yet, still a long way to go, many more designs to knits, avenues to take them.

The photo is of my test swatch which I submitted to Janet Morton in 2000 for her exhibit 'Casting Off' which ran that Spring at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto. That was an amazing exhibit, hundreds of swatches with dates knit into them, each date representing something important to the knitter. A large bound book held the letters which accompanied each square in explanation, celebration, comemmoration and so on. My Mum and I spent quite a while there reading the swatches and letters.

Now I'll have to dream up something special to knit to mark my quarter century... watch this space.. I'm off to eat cake.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The End of Cotton Yarn?


That's the question I ask many of my clients or they ask me. As time goes on and my hands get older there won't be a choice, using cotton on the knitting machine, creating jackets with shaping means using multi prong tools to move stitches in and out creating vertical darts. Sure I like the cotton knits I make and I can accomodate my clients who cannot wear wool but my hands are starting to scream at me with the effort.

For non machine knitters, wool has a natural elasticity and and resiliance and quickly and willingly returns to it's orgininal shape. You can fold a good wool sweater and put it back on the shelf after wearing and it will freshen up, relinquish odors (when aired) and relax back into shape. Cotton, on the other hand, will not be so ready to sping back as it hasn't the elasticity, the stretched out cuffs and wrinkled elbows will have to be pressed or washed out. Anyway, because of this it takes strong arms, hands, fingers to push and pull the many stitches from the machines needles onto the tool to move them then to get them back onto the machine and I'm finding my wrist tendons, especially in my right hand, are telling me they've had enough.

Knitting with larger stitches in cotton might seemt to be the answer but then I don't get the knitted fabric I'm known for. My cottons don't lose their shape as produce a close knit, a loser knit would make for baggier fabric that I do not like for my styles.

Well, I may just be knitting in wool only soon, it is my most favourite fibre, I LOVE it!!!!

Oh...the photo? I took my camera with me on one of my power walks this week and found this wonderful tulip!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Studio Musings on a Rainy Day.

Well, it's raining again but mild enough for me to have my studio dooor open. This means that our cat just wandered up meowing trying to tell me he's bored and needed a little attention, now he'll curl up at the top of the stairs and monitor the driveway and his cat door (his friends pop in for a snack now and again).

On these rainy days I'm quite happy to be ensconsed in my studio. I have no desire to go out as I might on sunny days and wallow in my work, filling orders, checking emails and hitting relevant sites, creating, perhaps going through books and publications looking for ideas and instpiration or new techniques. Sometimes the only way I really know what time it is is whatever is on TV... which I tend to use as a radio for company.

If I don't have my 'office work' done by the end of The View I'm getting behind in my knitting. You can't hear much over the knitting machine so soaps are perfect....story lines take years to work out!!!! I mourned 'Another World' which I latched onto in college but now I have 'Generaly Hospital'... I've actually been inspired by the fashions on soaps as they always have the latest.

Well, nothing inspiring on just now so just back to work to the beat of the rain on my skylight.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wanted: Extinct Knitter's Tool!!!


Do you have one of these and desparately need to get rid of it, can't stand it cluttering up your space? Well, you've found a buyer.

Pictured here is a 47 prong Transfer Tool used on most Standard Bed knitting machines. I use mine every day as I make vertical darts in my handloomed knits. I love it to bits and could not do my work in the alotted time without it..... however IT'S EXTINCT!!

No one can seem to find one, none of the vendors I've talked to have seen one in ages, some don't even know what it is and I certainly don't know what it's really called. Anyway, if you know of one going begging, EMAIL ME!

..... well, now back to search Ebay.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Knitters Jamboree & Mother's Day!

Well, drove three hours to get to the Knitter's Jamboree in Mississauga .... all the machine knitting vendors (and more) in one place for a day.

When your sewing machine breaks down or you need some bits you head to your local sewing machine seller. With knitting machines it's usually time spent on the internet to see who is stocking new or used parts and equipment, investing in shipping fees and hoping what you purchased arrives in one piece (after the shipping company has tossed it off a tall building before loading in onto the truck.... just to test the seller's packing skills!!) Well, that's if the part or machinery still exists on the planet.

I found that the multi prong transfer comb I wanted, as I use mine every day, is extinct, so getting a spare is out of the question so I had better not step on mine while rushing to grab the phone, or sit on it when I get back to knitting... aaarrrrgh! Other than that I had a wonderful time surrounded by Machine Knitting books, magazines, manuals, yarn, tools, knitting, the fashion show and mad knitters. I met up with my friend and co conspirator Sonja and accompanied her to her car with her first load of shopping!! I bought books that I have to include in my library in my studio, very helpful on those days when creativity dries up and you have to sit on the floor surrounded by books and mags trying to jump start it.

I tore myself away to spend the rest of the afternoon with my step daughter Alana looking for ribbon at Mokuba on funky Queen West in Toronto, then off to the Distillery District
for coffee and to take in some art. Part of the art was the scenery, a wedding party trying to dodge the rain drops and take advantage of the occasional sunshine while taking photos in that wonderful setting. The colours chosen by this bride were wonderful, lime green (chartreusey)trumpet skirted, strapless dresses and all carying boquet's of roses in cream, laventer and rose. (And I had to leave my camera in the car.. rats!) Then taking in the Sandra Ainsly gallery (Glass) and the Joan Fontcuberta called 'Googlegrams' using Google Search and thoushands of tiny found pics used as mosaic.

Well, now no lack of creative inspiration so I droped my girl off home and before shutting the car door she wished me.....

.... Happy Mother's Day.

Found: A Knitting Shop




On our way home from vacation we hit Williamsburg and I found a knitting store. We managed to get to Knitting Sisters before they closed for the day. It is a wonderful store and they had just finished a workshop and the store was full of mad knitters with one husband sitting quietly in their 'waiting area'!!! I added mine to the mix but he tends to follow me around and encourage me to buy this and that, he often finds yarns or other stuff that I've missed, I bought feathers... I know I'll do something with them some day.

I was looking for a silk yarn for the trim on my second Noro shawl (I'm wearing the first one in the pic with a couple of the wonderful ladies running things). We had a bit of fun playing with the shawl in different ways to wear it: I've worn it in bed as a bed jacket, over my jean jacket (as shown in the Noro pattern book), over my leather jacket. I've worn it wound around my neck and ears to keep warm in the snow and loosly, held with a sweater pin, over black evening wear!!

Knitting Sis's - hope you go ahead with the Noro shawl project who's seed you sewed that day!!!

Little Things That Amuse.


This little knitted purse is an exercise in bead knitting which was fun to do while away on vacation. Working on something that involves close pattern following and counting beads somewhat like on an abacus took my ever thinking/designing/business organizing mind off into a quiet place with a pretty result at the end.

Though I love hand knitting, I've been doing it since seven years of age and started my business with it, I rarely get time to do it. When I do get down time I sometimes just want my hands to rest.

This is my second little bag from the same pattern, the pattern is from BagLady, and I purchased the beads, cotton and needles separately.

This little thing really amuses me.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Memoirs of a Knitter's Vacation


This is being written after the fact as email access was spotty at best while away, but I'm still reaping the benefits of getting out of the studio and far away for a week. I like to call this pic 'Sox on the Chesapeake'as I took it during our rainy drive over the .... you guessed it.... Chesapeake! from Maryland to Virginia and on to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Socks are the only way to go on a road trip, I call them 'chewing gum for my hands' and as I've been knitting them for the last three decades I can almost do them in my sleep (in fact I have nodded off while knitting in the car!). Keeps my hands busy when I'm not the driver and I can still look at the ever changing landscape.

Didn't look for a yarn shop in Philly, time better spent at the Art Musem... perhaps another time, I'm sure a city that big has a machine knitting shop somewhere too, but not to worry I found one later on our trip. My other half is excellent at finding and getting me to yarn shops!!!

I feed my addiction at Wool Tyme where Anne keeps a good stock of fab varigated sock yarn.

Vacations are a great time to catch up on stuff you don't get time to do at home. The socks were great company when I planted myself in front of some cable channel to watch endless episodes 'Gunsmoke'!!! What fun trying to recognize actors we know in their 50's and 60's back when they were in their salad days.

Sounds like I wasted a day but....

.....isn't that what holidays are for?!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Philadephia Stop


The first day of my vacation and long deserved break from the studio was warm and sunnyu for driving and we hit the Philadephia Museum of Art, . I had wanted to see a small exhibition of 18th & 19th century dresses, corsets and accessories but when 'he who must be obeyed' (just kidding!) went off to view the Andrew Wyeth collection I went with. I'm so glad I did, what an experience and of course, with the self guieded tour headsets I learned a lot about the artist who's paintings really make you think and wonder what was going on in his head.

I managed to take a few pics (sans flash of course) of some of the pieces in the 'From Roccoco to Romance' room, above is a corset, and felt so glad that my 21st century attire doesn't dictate how I move, stand or whether I breathe or eat! The fabrics used in the dresses saw were beautiful: French brocade silk, roller printed cotton and cotton organza. The puffed sleeve supports must have been a pain on a hot day.

Finally I got to see Princess Grace's wedding dress and two of the dresses for the fower girls and bridesmades, all from her 1956 wedding. I had actually never seen an image of the back and didn't realize it was split with lace and bows as accent.

Now on to more mundane things.... driving to the beach!!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Three Days and Counting....

Hooray!! Off on vacation soon, rest my aching joints from so much machine knitting over the past few months with shows in the offing but now are over.

Cape Hattaras National Seashore is a special place, when you look on a map of North Carolina it's way out into the Atlantic ocean. Off season there are no fancy places to spend all your money but all the windsurfers hang there and it's way fun.

Sharing a house with others is a great social week and you get to taste other's different cooking when we gather for our evening meal.

I'm hoping the bead store/internet cafe is open at this time of year so while my other half is blowing his brains out on the Pamlico sound on a board I can while away the hours mindlessly beading.... I get to do very little stuff mindlessly in my daily studio life and beading is physically stress free on my shoulders and other joints battered from going back and forth on my machines.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Two More Shows Under My Belt.


Back home again after what seems like ages on the road, far from my own bed and 'fridge. The first two shows of the season went well if a little strange when compared to past shows, however, each brings it's own surprises. The sun and warmth of the first day of the One of a Kind show would have kept me outside had I not paid an awful lot of money to sit in a dark building with my 'flag' (my work) up the flagpole awaiting that salute (sales!!)

The photo is of the 'after' during tear down, of the inside of the National Trade Centre, Toronto.

How wonderful it has been after the long Winter indoors, in the studio, to connect again with friends and colleagues and to reaffirm why I do what I do. To hear compliments from my clients (my critics) and colleagues on new designs, and to see the satisfaction when on of my knits leaves me for a new home with lovely lady who will wear it with joy (there is no other way to wear Fuschia!!).

Meals at odd time with unaccustomed B&B brekkies to kick start the long days. Thanks, Susan, for the libation! And wonderful home cooked dins at the 'outlaws' at the Ottawa show.... how long has it been since I had scalloped potatoes, yum, thanks R&B. And of course relatives make sure you tuck some cake in with your booth munchies to make the day just that much brighter.

Now it's back to the studio..... when I've shaken this 'show head cold'!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Colleagues


I can't believe I ate the whole thing.... well, that's a bit of what I feel now that the first craft show of the year is over. One of the most fun parts was the Mango martinis and sushi we designers were offered after the opening night fashion show.

Here's a pic of three of us with Jeannie Becker, that's Line Dufour, Lynn Roberts Jeannie and me in the tangerine wrap.

Why am I always taller than everyone else....I know Jeannie was wearing heels?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fifteen Seconds of Fame!


Oh what fun we had tonight! First day of the OOAK show and found out one of my peices submitted for the opening night fasion show has been chosen and they want to introduce the attached artist! The show is being hosted by Jeanie Becker and she did a great job of talking up Canadian made fashion.

The models did their thing and then it was our turn, staying in the order in which we had been duly put, we went up on stage from backstage, out under the bright lights and our column snaked around the stage grinning and waving then backstage again. I turned to the colleague behind me (another knitter) and asked 'Was that our 15 seconds of fame?' (chortle).

Those of us who didn't have to high tail it back to an unattended booth were shepherded into a roped off area behind the stage for photo taking and where charming attendants proffered trays of sushi and mango martinis....

....then I giggled my way back to my booth.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Two Days.....

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Well, Sunday morning and so much to do before the One Of A Kind show. We leave on Tuesday morning to spend the day setting up the booth ready for opening up on Wednesday morning. I have one more gament to make along with it's buttons and need to check over my equipent boxes to see that I have all my booth drapes, poles, hangers, manequin bits, little vacuum cleaner, and a ton of other stuff.

Over the years I've pared it down but when you are in one 10'x10' place for 10 - 12 hours for five days you need some creature comforts. I've been accused of taking too many pairs of shoes... but it's never enough when you're on your feet all those ours. I do have a chair but my bottom hardly sees it. You find yourself running on adreneline when meeting and interacting with old and new clients and people who are seeing you work for the first time, it's exciting, especially after weeks of lone working in the studio, then it's the end of the evening and you find you can hardly move and it's a huge effort just to make it to the car and get into your B&B bed, only to do it all again the next day with a middle aged body that isn't quite as refreshed yet!

My ladies keep me going though and I love them all and that is another reason why I keep doing what I do (aside from being addicted to the fibre arts and..... yes, needing to eat!) So if any of you are reading this I'm looking forward to seeing you all and pardon if I seem a little 'tired'.

.....now where are those manequins?....

Friday, March 24, 2006

Getting Warmer


Soon we will no longer need these..... hand knitted socks, however I will still keep knitting them as I knit socks the way other folk (well some) smoke....except I don't stand around in doorways knitting socks.

There is a zen to knitting and it can be very calming, it's a shame we can't knit on airplanes anymore as there's a place we need to be calmed. In the mad push to get everything ready for the show I sometimes take a break after dinner, pick up a sock-in-progress and take in some 'Deal or No Deal' and watch over excited adults ask their children for advice then turn down thousands of dollars just to open the next case and go home with five bucks!!! Need the calm of my socks then.

These particular socks were knit for my niece's 18th birthday and have her initials on them so I did them on the machine.

A few years ago I used to have a basket of socks for sale in my booth and sold all I could knit, one yong woman bought some for her father as he loved hand knit socks. A couple of years later she came up to me at a fair to tell me her dear Dad had passed away and they had buried him in my socks as they had become his favourite!!! I was incredibly touched and have treasured that story.

Keep wiggling those toes.

Four Days and Counting...


My first post... hmmm. It's four days and counting to the drive to Toronto to set up my booth for the One of a Kind Show Spring 2006 and it's the frantic time. I had soooo many plans for over the Winter, give a one day seminar on the software I use to create the patterns for my knitting, complete all my Winter orders from my clients, hey, maybe even learn to use the Passap I got and had reconditioned about two or maybe three years ago! This was not to be.

Many people complain about how long Winter is and they don't know how they'll get through it, I have so much lined up plus trying to have a life that I never get a chance to get bored, I often relish a heavy snowfall as a way of getting in a workout and getting outside and having some fun with our cat (he's the one without the grin) yet still getting a chore done. Then I feel better about spending the rest of the day in my studio with only the View and General Hospital for company.

This is a frantic time as forms have had to be filled out and faxed back for parking passes, booth electrics, insurance for the duration of the show. Now I can't remember if I have to order the cross bar for the front of my booth so we can support the beam with my lights on. Then I've been working on submitting some new images for my website and sending them on to my web master, that means some time spent in Photoshop Elements. I still need to draw some new images for my handout brochure and for my shows list hand out, also I had planned and even started a slide show in Keynote, that was fun to work on..... but hmmm did I tell you...

..... I'm a knitter!