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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Something Red - Another Etsy Treasury Item.

'Ruffles' scarf of Merino wool & Silk.

Oh, joy for a Thursday morning! Another item added to an Etsy Treasury. They come fast and furious but I don't think any have gone out as worldwide Treasury emails yet but it's so nice to be picked. I'm still working on a Treasury of my own, there are so many wonderful things....must think of a theme.

This is one of the scarves I've knit using my Garter Carriage..... not in time for any show however, the GC was seized up from lack of use and just wouldn't cooperate.....until the Monday following the show....with me pushing the Go button over, and over and over and over....until she loosened up!

Though they are simple once the GC gets going it's the choosing of colours, width and length that is fun.

It's been suggested I write this pattern up for Ravelry....if it hasn't already been done. It would suit both hand and machine knitting. I've also knit if of plain Merino wool.

Lots of things to get to over the holidays while I sit on the sofa (rare for me) and knit socks or work on my laptop.

New things for a New Year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Last Show of the Season

My display of scarves and wraps.

Well, it's over, the last show that I'm doing this Christmas/Fall//Holiday season, The Gift Giving Show at Fort Henry here in Kingston. What a great venue for a craft and art show and sale! The barracks rooms which held three artisans each, we had lots of room to set up and spread out, the lower fort had the artisans spread out through the joined rooms that were once occupied by German prisoners of war. We had whitewashed brick and stone walls to work with and wooden floors. There are lots of black painted tables and 'ammunition boxes' with rope handles to work with for display, they are usually used through the Summer when they rooms are barracks for the Fort Henry Guard.   

The show doubled this year in the number of artisans and also seemed to double in attendance. It is only $5 to enter as opposed to the Summer when the Fort is in full swing and costs three times this amount plus parking. At this time of year you can park within the fort.

Strip Scarf

Well, I do have a selection of scarves, some of which sold and some of which I will be uploading to my etsy shop when I've finished catching up on my the email and  clients since I haven't been near my computer for three days!


My friend Georgia from Artemisia Art Gallery in Westport ON said that not everyone is as big as me (I'm tall, G is vertically challenged!) and I should downsize my SweaterWraps... so now I have NeckWraps, shorter and narrower. I've sold most of what I've knit recently both at the show and on Etsy so I had better get busy and run up a few more, between custom orders that I have to get done before Christmas!

 Eileen Montgomery's Garter Carriage class at Cardiknits last month.  Sonja and me.

 One of the things I want to sort out is my Garter Carriage, I got my magnets from Strickmachinen in Germany to allow it to work on an electronic Brother knitting machine, and it was going like the clappers last week when I fitted them on..... then she stopped..... just stopped. All I could get was one 'chug' each time I pressed the green 'go' button. Eileen recommended slowing down the speed, that helped but I had to stand over the machine. Of course, Eileen might be right and that the machine knew I wanted to get something made for the weekend and decided to be temperamental and will work later today now that the show is over!  ..... I'll let you know! Mary... I need you!!!

Well, I'm off to the studio, if only to put everything back after the show....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicago Quickie

Mary & Me at 'the Bean' in Millennium Park.

Well, I just had a great weekend in Chicago and I was treated royally. I have known Mary Slattery of the Interknits group in Chicago for a few years at Bonnie Triola seminars in Erie PA and then at Inspiration in Cleveland and she vowed to get me to Chicago to meet the group.

In the emails and phone calls leading up to my trip Mary arranged to take me to the Art Institute where I had not been in the years I was there doing the One of a Kind Show Chicago. (The visits were always arranged too early in the morning for someone who needs her rest and is a night person anyway). Wow! What a lovely afternoon we had, including lunch at the Institute.  The day was the only fair weather day so when we were done there Mary walked me to Millennium Park where we explored the Bean, or Cloud Gate as it's really called, taking lots of pics of our reflections.

Snakey Scarf

This is one of my Snakey Scarves that I took to show colour and perhaps as an inspiration for some Chrissy prezzies. It's not an original idea but I just ran away with the colour and added a bead or two.

 Pics taken after a day teaching, this is my 'oh, how hard it is to knit with a GC!'

These are  couple of silly pics of me learning the Garter Carriage in Pam's house after my workshop day. Goofing around as the beast does it's thing. I got so excited and last Saturday took a one day workshop from Eileen Montgomery on mastering my garter carriage.  On my return home I found that I have a GC for a punch card machine but an electronic Brother 930. I would need two little magnets to make it work on the electronic. They almost don't exist but I emailed Germany's Strickmachinen and got an immediate reply and PayPal invoice saying if I wanted just pay and they would wing their way to me....can't wait! Designs floating around in my head, but I'll start with some scarvey things for the Holiday Shopping season.

Pam Huang my delightful hostess.

Mary and I stayed at Pam Huang's house as Mary's house is busy being reno'd, our first night we didn't go to bed until after 2am (that's 3am my time), just talking and surfing about knitting and such. I loved being with these two women for the weekend as I am usually alone with my knitter friends on the other end of the 'phone or email.

I'll post again later, must get off to the machine to work on a custom order that must get to my client.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

A Pressing Issue

I know this sounds so silly but I have a new iron....... yeah, big whoop! Well, It's special and I found it (well my husband found it) at a store that sells stuff remaindered from stores such as Sears. He knew my older TFal was giving me a hard time not steaming when I needed for my knitting and brought home another one from Outlet Inc here in Kingston. It didn't work and he checked it and found it was (long electrical story) dead. He said 'come with me and look' which I did and found this  CORDLESS iron!!!!

It's made by Panasonic and the reason I glommed onto it is because when I was teaching in Minneapolis in April I someone supplied me with what I thought was a toaster..... it turned out to be a cordless iron from Maytag.   (Mary, do you remember that?)  

It has this cute clear plastic oven (so unlike the Maytag you can see it's not a toaster!) and a stand. The stand plugs in  - can you see the retractable cord? and the iron sits in it and you click the button from off through warm to hot.

It is handy if you are steaming (it vertical steams) or ironing in a strange place.... like something that is in situ and cannot be taken to the ironing board (as was the case when I was teaching.)

Also, it is still available (check out Panasonic) at $99 but I got it for a third of that!!!

I'm now overstocked with irons and knitting machines!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Smashing Time - Luddites

Luddites Smashing a loom, 1812. (Artist Unknown)

I got this quote in my Word of the Day email today:

After the Luddites, name taken by textile workers in England during 1811-1816 who destroyed machinery that was displacing them. They took the name after one Ned Ludd, whose identity is not clear. Ned Ludd is said to have destroyed, in a fit of insanity, a knitting frame in 1779. In response to the Luddites, the British parliament passed the Frame Breaking Act which made the destroying of knitting frames punishable by death. 

 I learned a lot about this when I visited the Ruddington Framework Knitter's Museum in Enland a few years ago.  Lots of us balk at change, I think back to the day my husband brought home a Mac (back when they were beige too) and I told him to have fun and walked away...... then a graphic artist friend of mine, Tracy Carefoot, showed me how to make my own business cards, and a computer learning centre in the Beach area of Toronto where I lived showed me how to write a letter and save, save, save....and I haven't looked back.

Me on a Knitting Frame at the RFKM. 
Eight movements involving hands, knees and feet for one row!

I'm so glad that knitting machines survived Ned Ludd!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rocks on Thanksgiving

'Wallers working on their wall.

Just spent the first day of the Rocktoberfest 2010 event in Landon Bay Centre in the 1000 Islands! What a beautiful day!  And what a unique event. I don't know much about 'dry stone wall building' but I've learned a lot today and now I've been looking at the art/craft for years, in North America and Europe. It's ancient and wonderful.

Working on the keystone.

Here is a group of wallers working on building a bridge over a stream in the woods at Landon Bay Center. I didn't know they used a wooden shape to mold the stones around, no mortar is used the construction and weight hold the carefully chosen and chipped away rocks together in the formation required (building, wall, bridge, fireplace, chimney, bridge abutment.......).

Here we have DSWA Canada Pres. John Shaw-Rimmington reworking the keystone to fit.

I set up my booth with my friend and event organizer Margot Miller and hoped my fingers would eventually thaw out. The day warmed up and not a cloud in the sky. Later I wandered over to see the wall close to, then walked the trail through the woods to find the bridge that was being built..... they take the mold out on Monday. 

Not a lot of artisans but lots of food, music and things to look at. 

This is a bench on the trail overlooking the park and campground.

Well, gotta go bag some ZZZZ's for tomorrow... two more days left... see you there!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Booth: Dressed and Undressed

Just got back from the Just for Us Originals show and sale of wearables. It was a good weekend, the weather was cooperative in that it was warm and sunny... not keeping women home. The venue - the Mississauga Living Arts Centre - was great and we set up in the foyer/atrium.... three story high windows on the East facing wall. This was my third year at this show and also the third location but this one we all loved for many reasons: free underground parking, easy load and unloading of our cars and trucks, fairly easy to get to, lovely marble floors, great daylight - essential for wearbles and dealing with skin tones.

All set to go!

I thought it might be fun to take a before and after pic of my set up, I didn't have anything but back wall drapes so I used my forms and a table to denote  my 10'x10' area, this made it easier to chat with my neighbours: Cheryl Straby from Perth with her leather clothing and Christine VonBun from Austria, a master craftsman in leather with her beautiful bags.

 All dressed now!

 I had a great time working on the new jacket and my wraps. I'm not just having fun with colour but I'm back on my old Punch Card knitting machine! Who'd a thunk it?

 Colour corner.

Here I am (in the mirror) taking a snap of my colourful corner. The jacket is all over punch card patterning which I had a lot of fun making. However as I did it in panels, each time I started a new panel I had to really refer back to the ones  had already done to make sure I wasn't going to duplicate a pattern right next to itself. 

 A 'sort of coordinated' button.

I've a collection of machines and have been through a few punch card ones. I usually pattern on my electronic 580 but I only have so many patterns on mylar sheets.... but punch cards....... Well, I've been machine knitting for 26 years so I have a few... I dug them up and didn't have to  make any new ones for this jacket. It was it's first time out... hope it goes over well. It's priced higher as it's a lot of work....then there are the buttons!

Well, enough creativity.... better get back to the sleeve shortening I have scheduled and mailing out my latest Etsy sales items.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Etsy Treasury

Wow! All you Estyans out there will know what this means to me, I've been chosen as part of someone's 'Treasury'!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Please check out the page, I'm in with some lovely items....I love the rice bowls and the earrings.

They chose my Periwinkle SummerWrap of French Mercerized cotton with ribbon trim. So great for the Summer or travelling on cruises to warmer climes.  Let's hope this bodes well for a few sales on my Etsy site..... which sorely needs updating.

I'll let you know........

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sew Knit Serge

 Peter out front...with my 'little bread truck'.

Well, I finally made it to 15 Gower Ave in Toronto, the home of Sew Knit Serge owned by Peter Smith. I've know Peter since I met him years ago at the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition)...if memory serves, back in the '80's. He had both sewing machines and knitting machines on display in the Better Living Building (I think...its been so long) where scads of such dealers demonstrated their wares and products. Anyway, now after a couple of other locations that were not big enough to contain his burgeoning stock and supplies this three floor building on a quiet street with parking is the bees knees.

This is what you see as you walk into the ground floor of the shop. Shelves of yarn and knitting and sewing paraphernalia, colourful and brightly lit with sale bins up front. Peter also showed me the back of this huge floor where he keeps more knitting machine stuff than I've ever seen.

 Of course, there's Jenny, Peter's right hand woman who has dealt with all this stuff for a long time. It was hard getting her to stand still for a pic but here she is so you'll know her when you go in.

Shelves of Passaps.

Boxes of parts.

Bernina Sewing machines seen from Peter's office.


Knitting room with quite a selection of machines to learn on.

Great daylight in the knitting machine room...wanted to go round and try them all.

Now,  the big news is the giant SALE !!!       

Announcing our Spinrite Yarns First Toronto Tent Sale, from Sep 24th to Oct 9th . Check out the Tent Sale flyer for all of the details. Take advantage of our Buy 3 get 1 Free deal on all sale items in the tent, and huge reductions on your favorite yarns. 

We also have extended sale hours - Monday through Saturday 9-6 (closed Sundays).

I'm going to stop by on my way to do the Just for Us Originals.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Westport Weekend - Artemisia

What a weekend was last weekend! It started on Thursday when I was part of a four artisan delegation who set up in Brockville ON at 55+ Canada Games. We set up in St Lawrence Park overlooking the St Lawrence river and 1000 islands, it was beautiful, I set up my knitting machine and got some knitting done. And though it was rainy I met some amazing people, including Moses (Zoomer) Naimer, my husband and I are members of CARP and have our auto insurance through them and get Zoomer mag every month. This is so appropriate as I had just turned 60 and am a breast cancer survivor as is his sister Libby. I also met a lady who hobbled along wearing a team t shirt and wielding a cane and a smile who I found out had had a stroke and also now ALS. She was there from Edmonton with her husband who at 80 had just won yet another gold medal in the running race. When he came along I thought I need to get back to my walking as he was so trim and fit and enthusiastic about life. (Meantime while it's hot I'll keep going down the road to jump in the lake).

 Georgia and me claying and knitting outside Artemisia.

Then on Friday I was a demonstrating artist for the Up the River Festival in Gananoque ON, along with other artisans as Ron Tidrow, Jane Thellwell, Patricia Van Asperen and others. Eight of us set up in the parking lot of The Firehall Theatre again overlooking the 1000 Islands and the river. Just a few hours (though hours setting up and tearing down) and showing onlookers and children from Summer camps how we make what we make. Thanks Pam Staples.

Saturday and Sunday I was one of the artists in 'Meet the Artist' at Artemisia Art Gallery in Westport. My dear friend owns the building (her new home) along with the gallery with her two friends Bonnie and Donna.  It was also the Rideau Valley Art Festival weekend....I had never seen so many people in Westport. Two wonderful hot days, quite a bit of knitting and finding out my Singer 580 that I was given has trouble patterning. My lace carriage works fine on my 580 in the studio but this one didn't work well either in Haliburton or last weekend. 

I got to stay over with my friend (pictured above) and we had a lovely evening and morning eating both our supper and brekky on the side porch of this lovely old Victorian home (now home, gallery & studios.)

Fifty Five Plus magazine September 2010

While I was there a trip to the grocery store for local corn netted us some of the free mags...including Fifly Five Plus. This month has Barbara McInnes on the cover, Donna came out with the article open saying 'is this yours?' about the photograph. Yes! That was the jacket Ms McInnes bought at the Ontario Crafts Council award winners exhibit last June!!! Yay! How cool is that?

I believe that is the last one I've ever made of that style and I made it especially for the exhibit.  I hope to meet Ms McInnes some day!

Well, a day at the beach yesterday (walking into the lake at the drop of a hat is soooooo good for hot flashes in hot sun!).... now back at work.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Haliburton Class of 2010

 My second year of Haliburton teaching and I'm just recovering from the work, having every minute filled, the energy of my ladies,  not to mention the loading, unloading, loading and unloading the car with knitting machines, tool, ironing board, mannequins and so on. The drive is always beautiful.... unless you drive up after a two day show which came after a week of moving a family member and it's bucketing down rain as you drive through the hills! I pulled over for a nap half 40 clicks out of Bancroft.
 Tie dyed T's drying, from another class. The view from my classroom.

We valliantly endured opera rehearsals in the next two rooms and one morning of a french horn player practicing in the courtyard. Clowns prancing up and down the halls speaking in tongues!

 My busy class....

 ....more busy class.

This was a hot room with only two electrical outlets for four laptops, two fans an iron and half of the machines were electronic, though we didn't use that much.

 Sandy's amazing knit jacket.... oh the math!!

Sandy is one of my beginners from last year who made two garments on a rented (from me) Singer 360 then and chose to make a notch collared jacket this time around on her Singer 700. Considering the hurdles she went over (and dragged me into... guess that's what I was there for) it turned out great and really wearable. This is one woman who can get away with a belt over a knit garment.... so fashionable. A Canadian made belt.... must get the maker's name from her. Of course Garment Designer was used to make the pattern and it fit well for a first draft.

 Krystyna's first sweater.... the other sleeve is on it's way.

Krystyna, our beginner, showed such promise as she waded, struggled, endured her way through her very first sweater on her LK150. When she suggested she try a tuck stitch Sonja and I (old knitters) said her machine didn't do that....she opened the manual and proved us wrong and herself very adept! Krystyna used two different yarns and made it work, the pattern being worked on Garment Designer.

 Heather  - back again for more punishment!! Knitting sideways!

Heather, well what can I say...starting with a plan to knit her garment sideways (something I've always wanted to try but not had the time) and using a really pretty commercial tweedy yarn.  Found the yarn was weak so switched to her own hand spun yarn, beautifully hand spun yarn. I'm looking forward to a photo when it's finished. Heather likes to make changes, and tweaks... and changes....on her sweaters.

Good on ya, Terenya. A grand job and lovely design.

Then there was Terenya, I was sure she would get p#%%@ed off with me and leave as I drummed things into her over and over....heck I would have! But she stuck at it and created this lovely little bolero jacket (tuck stitch collar and sleeves - her design - to come), using a yarn she hadn't planned on and had to buy from Sonja's stash.

Sonja persevered with a yarn she later realized was probably not suited to her machine... I hope she endures as I love what she was working on... a really unusual design... and I think she can do it....perhaps with a little less heat and a lot fewer sopranos! The rest of the class worked on trying out new techniques for shaping and working with the garter bar and Decker combs...I took ages to become adept with both, I hardly heard a peep out of them as they worked on each day to master new tools.... I want to know what drugs they were on and where I can get some!!!

Carry on ladies, I am sooooo looking forward to next year!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tutorial DVD...My First

 For Machine Knitters

Well, this has been too long coming, I shot the stills about 18 months ago and Dad and I shot the video last Summer. I took a while to get it edited then the push was on for the end of April when I was demoing in Purls of Joy in Minneapolis and in Cardiknits Academy in Hamilton.  Sold lot of them and hope to see more neat buttonholes around.

 Stitch arrangement and division.

Here are a couple of shots of the stills from the DVD. I walk you through a jacket right front from hem hanging to neck edge.... detailing the facing and buttonholes which can be altered by number of rows for different size buttons.


No ribbing involved as I haven't done ribbed edges or fronts for more than a decade. It's a little trickier if you are working with an all over pattern as you have to reset a couple of time for each hole, or if you are dealing with a bust dart as your math has to divide the extra rows at the front between the holes.

I've got it listed on my Etsy Shop site so it's easy to order at $25 USD.

Happy Knitting

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Fashion Finds... Sort Of

Bridesmaid Dress 1974

Where do I start? That's what my Dad, my sister and I said when we started to clear out my Mother's closets. So far Value Village has benefitted by nine bags!!!!!

One of the finds was my sister's bridesmaid's dress from my first wedding waaaay back in the seventies (yes I'm old and on my second husband!) It's sooo tiny, I couldn't get it done up on my size 10 form for the photograph. It's all synthetic but with cotton lace trim.

Here is a sweater my that either I made or Mum or she bought from me at a show, she used to do that and has a collection that I'm taking back into the studio as I find them. This is my Ski sweater look from the late '80's I think, I knit the the ribbing on the hem as a long strip, sewed it on and joined it with the red buttons at the hip.

Then there was this number, I think Mum wore it as a house dress but it might have been a regular dress, I remember her wearing it a lot, the buttons are gone and have been replaced with a few odd ones, I love the full skirt and three quarter length sleeves, it's really fitted and is all cotton print. There's no label.

Horrockses Evening Gown

The one that's really got me all excited it this cotton evening dress with the wide band around the bust fastening with  big bow at the back. Mum has taken the full tulle underskirt out, I guess to make it hang closer to the legs than it was meant back in the 1950's. It still has an underskirt with tulle around the bottom.

I Googled Horrockses and found sooooo much history. The V&A museum in London did a vintage dress exhibit a year or so ago and Horrockses frocks were in that, then I found that the Fashion & Textile Museum in London is opening a Horrockses exhibition in London tomorrow, lasting until October of this year!!! I'm madly buying lottery tickets for a chance to visit.

I met a man (who was actually bringing and amp for my husband to work on) who said he worked at Horrockses cotton mill back in the early '70's, they used to make glazed cottons for frocks and make the 'glazes'. Follow the link for Harris Art  Gallery & Museum  three lovely little films on the industrial revolution involving the cotton industry. I had heard of a spinning Jenny but not a spinning Mule!


Here is a photo of Mum taken at her 90th birthday party last December in one of the cardigans I have made her, she looked lovely in this one.... must go find it.

Off for more clearing this weekend, who knows what we'll turn up!