Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Reading

Summer is a great time to catch up on reading. Burda (famous for their sewing patterns) has published Verena, a knitting magazine, in Europe for years. They have now brought the popular magazine to North America, completely translated into English and full of great summer knitting fashion.
We have the premier issue of Verena in stock at Serenity Knits and suggest adding it to your favourites for this summer's reading.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Perfect Portable Project

We wondered if the trend for knitting socks would continue into the summer since just about everyone has abandoned wearing socks for cooler sandal options. It is impressive that many of our customers have already started on their Christmas list and that several on that list will be fortunate enough to be receiving hand knit socks. It is always an appreciated gift, with the amazing colours, wonderful fit and feel and made with lots of love. There is a seemingly infinite variety of patterns so that the knitter couldn't possibly get bored.

The sock knitting trend is continuing through the summer because knitters appreciate that socks are so portable. They are the perfect project to slip into your purse or beach bag and travel wherever you go. Now that airlines are once again allowing knitting on flights, socks can even enjoy the get away in your carry-on luggage.

We have brought in some new sock yarn to allow you to indulge in more sock knitting during your summer break. This is a beautiful hand dyed washable merino yarn from Dye-Version. It contains just the right amount of nylon (25%) to add durability and keep the socks looking great for a long time. Dye-Version is a local company based in Mississauga, Ontario. It is owned and operated by two very talented sisters. They are presently working on dying more colourways that will be arriving soon.

Make sure that you always have sock yarn and needles packed for your travels. It helps make the inevitable waiting time that accompanies most trips seem like a great part of the holiday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Working Customers

Often customers come to our store to escape the stress of work. They pick up yarn for projects that will give them relaxation when they are not working. This week we had two customers who came to our store as part of their job.

Reef is a regular "customer" working with C.O.P.E. - Canine Opportunity, People Empowerment. She is a golden retriever who is a special service dog; training to open doors, turn on lights, assist in emergencies or other tasks that a person using a wheelchair, for example, might have difficulty doing on their own. Patti is her trainer (and a great knitter) who has been working with Reef for the past year. The training regime takes two years and already Reef has a large repertoire of words that she understands and skills that she can undertake - such as the valuable task of carrying a bag of yarn. You can learn more about this service at

Jasper was also working at Serenity Knits this week to assist her owner, Beverly, pick out some yarn. Jasper is a yellow Labrador retriever and is a guide dog; the eyes for Beverly. Beverly is an amazing knitter, who is making a beautiful shawl that would be a challenge for many knitters who have their vision. The shawl is flawless with perfect tension and is nearing completion. (I was so awestruck at the skills of both Jasper and Beverly, that I didn't think of taking a picture of the shawl.)

Even though we consider our store to be a place for creative relaxation, it is also always a pleasure to see the hard work of faithful friends like Reef and Jasper. We will make sure we have doggy treats next to the candy container as a thank you for their dedication.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Congratulations Graduate

It was one of those proud parent days yesterday as Steve and I watched our son Matthew graduate with his Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph. All of a sudden those years of studying seemed worthwhile.

Of course the day had to coincide with the hottest day of the year so far - those sweltering students dressed in black gowns. The university held the convocation ceremony in the Athletic Dome, where the most number of parents, family and friends could be accomodated. One of their policies required that the guests be seated a half hour before the start of the processional (a nice courtesy) and of course seating is non reserved, so you needed to claim your spot at least an hour beforehand to assure the best view. All this took place in a non-airconditioned facility which had everyone shedding their jackets and any excess clothing and resulted in the scene looking more like a picnic than a formal graduation.
I certainly had no complaints - over an hour of knitting time before the piper began to play his first notes. I had enough manners to resist knitting during the speeches and formalities until the students started their one at a time trip accross the stage to collect their honours; then the needles reappeared. The afternoon brought a well earned graduation diploma for Matt and as a bonus - over half a sock knit.

Matthew receiving congratulations from Chancellor Pamela Wallin.

Congratulations Matthew! As always, we're proud of you and your accomplishments. (The offer to further your education by teaching you to knit still stands.)

Posted by Karen & Steve

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wooden Shawl Pins

It is the time of year when Beth and I have the wonderful fun of choosing new yarns, patterns and accessories for fall and winter. We enjoy the visits from the various yarn company representatives and appreciate their patience as we "argue" about colours and yarn choices. Beth and I actually have a great respect for each others opinions, even though our preferences are completely opposite and make for some lively debates.

One representative brought a magnificant display of his hand crafted wooden shawl pins. His beautiful pins are created from a variety of different woods, each with characteristic grains and come in a large selection of shapes. The source of much of the wood is right here in Ontario, including black walnut, plum, white oak, poplar, red oak, white ash, apple, cherry and pear. There is also some exotic wood from zebra trees grown in Africa or yellow pine from Alabama, rosewood, ebony, purple heart and more. The pins are either left in their natural state or stained in fashion colours. The woods are then waxed to highlight their grains (rather than using a laquer that tends to scratch and chip). Coordinating stick pins are included with each shawl pin.

Here is a close up of some of the designs, that we now carry, each unique and individually crafted.

Knitters are thankful for the current trend of using pins as closures for their sweaters, shawls and jackets. It is a nice change from the often tedious process of knitting buttonholes and trying to find coordinating buttons. This is a lovely way to add a touch of distiction to your finished garment and they make perfect gifts.

Posted by Karen

Monday, June 2, 2008

A New Sweater for a New Arrival

A few weeks ago, Pat came to Serenity Knits to pick up some yarn to knit a sweater for her anticipated new family addition. Today she returned with the finished sweater and her beautiful little girl. Ruffles is a 12 week old sweet, adorable, well behaved - just plain too cute for words soft-coated Cairn terrier. Pat designed her a little sweater from a vibrant Noro Kureyon shade, daintily trimmed with soft green. At just 5 lbs., Ruffles will have the summer to grow into the sweater that will be perfect for autumn frolics.
I was just so excited at having the little sweetheart visiting, that I forgot to take a picture of the sweater. Ruffles will just need to come back and model it for us when the cooler days of fall arrive (and hopefully there will be lots of visits while she is growing into it).

Posted by Karen