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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'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) 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.