Saturday, April 26, 2008

Knitter's Frolic Fun

What did we do today when we weren't at work at Serenity Knits? Frolic! Gabriela, Laurie and I went to the Knitter's Frolic at the Japanese Cultural Centre in Toronto. It showcased the lovely yarns, patterns, books and knitting supplies from many of the area yarn shops.

Here Gabriela and Karen arrive - with empty bags!

There was booth after booth of knitting temptations.

It's exciting to be surrounded by so many people sharing their love of knitting.

Gabriela met one of her favourite lace knitwear designers. She has knit several garments with Ilga Leja's wonderful patterns.

Misti Alpaca's booth provided a treat for the eyes and fingers with their selections of hand dyed alpaca yarns. Karen had a chance to talk with their representative, Mary about the soon to be released, washable alpaca sock yarn that will be arriving at Serenity Knits this summer.

We didn't have the nerve to frolic with the yarns all day and leave Karen's husband Steve to mind the store all alone. What an amazing guy! He is great with the customers - always an answer for every question that is garanteed to bring a smile to their faces. He is also an expert at operating the wool winding equipment. Thanks Steve, you did a super job.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Designing My Perfect Sweater

One of our most popular knitting classes is "Designing My Perfect Sweater". The knitter starts with a beautiful yarn and some ideas and transforms them into a perfect fitting designer sweater. The class runs for 6 weeks and starts with plenty of swatching, measuring and sketching. The ideas develop into schematics and a working pattern and the knitting begins. By the last class, most of the knitting has been accomplished and the last of the finishing details need to be completed at home. It's exciting to see the students come back in a week or two, modeling their final designs.
Susan brought back her finished sweater and it was absolutely magnificent. Her design began with a radiating lace motif that she saw featured on the back of a sweater pattern. She choose an alpaca and merino blend of yarn in her favourite colour. Susan even added "steeks" to the front lace pattern so that it could be cut open (really - with scissors!) and bordered as a cardigan. Bell sleeves and a shawl collar were knit to complete the original design.

It's fun to become the designer and turn your ideas into a wearable one of a kind garment. Along the way, you start to understand the various elements that go into a perfect sweater. Most importantly, you learn more about becoming a better knitter - a goal that we can all appreciate.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Socks, Socks & More Socks

It seems like all knitters are knitting socks these days - and it would be hard not to. Hand knitted socks just have love written all over them. They are the perfect gift to tell someone how much you care. They are portable and can be made with endless design options and stitch possibilities. The yarn can do all the hard work for you and make you appear like a knitting genius. That is probably why our sock yarn corner is bursting with so many new offerings.

The long awaited Noro sock yarn has arrived with its magnificant array of vibrant colours.

Beth has almost finished her first Noro sock and it looks terrific.

Collinette's Jitterbug is certain to brighten any day. It has an unusual diagonal colour pool - very eye catching!

Fleece Artist continues to be a favourite sock knitter's choice. As with most knitting projects, the hardest part is often choosing which colour to use first.

Sock knitting does come with a couple of warnings. After wearing hand knit socks and feeling their luxurious fibres and perfect fit, many people never want to go back to wearing manufactured socks again. The biggest "problem" though is that sock knitting can be addictive - a risk that we feel is well worth taking - after all you can never have or give away too many socks.