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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kaffe Fassett Colourscape Scarf

While Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably were visiting us a couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to admire the intricate colourworks of the garments that they had brought for the lectures. During his workshop, Brandon showed us a scarf made by Kaffe from the Rowan Colourscapes Chunky yarn. He said that Kaffe had made several of the scarves as Christmas gifts for his family. It was unlike his other designs in that it was a very simple diagonally knit scarf done completely in garter stitch. There weren't any complex patterns or dozens of colour changes. The yarn that Kaffe had designed at a wool mill in England did all of the work of the colour extravaganza.

Later, while Kaffe was signing books at Serenity Knits, many knitters were asking about the pattern for the scarf. I asked the master knitter himself and he said we were welcome to give out the pattern with the yarn purchase. He graciously dictated the pattern to me, I typed it up and had him proof read it before I printed out copies. You know you are getting the perfect pattern when the designer is the one who personally checks the details. This Christmas many knitters will be able to give the perfect gift with this special designer scarf.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our Traditional Thankgiving

Last weekend our family closed the cottage for another year. It is always a sad time for me; saying goodbye to my favourite place and the my official end of summer.

There is lots of work to do - storm windows to install, taking home all the perishables, wrapping everything that we can in plastic (in case we have some scampering, furry visitors), taking out the dock, draining the plumbing, antifreeze in the toilet, outdoor furniture put away, boat taken out..... My daughter, Marie commented that it is fun to do the reverse in the spring, but depressing in the fall.
We do have our "traditional" Thanksgiving meal to look forward to. I go to the freezer, take out everything that is left over from the summer, put the meat on the barbeque and enjoy our surprise dinner. We were lucky this year to have steak and salmon - I'm not as popular during the years that we're left with hamburger buns and a frozen casserole.

Another tradition is that everyone gathers on the beach at sunset. It is a great way to catch up with the neighbours and this time say goodbye until next spring. We were rewarded with a spectacular Lake Huron sunset as the perfect farewell. Is it any surprise where I have aquired my love of pink, blues and purples? The sunsets are the inspiration for my knitting!

With darkness arriving so early these days, my daughter and I were able to have several hours of knitting time in the evening. As well as being my favourite place to be, the cottage is also where I accomplish the most knitting. I'll gladly take my Muskoka chair over a rocking chair as my creative place of choice. Please understand that far away look in my eyes when you see me in the store over the next few weeks - I'm not counting the days until Christmas - just Victoria Day.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Brandon Mably Workshop

On Friday, Serenity Knits hosted world famous author and knitwear designer, Brandon Mably as he presented his workshop "Concentrating on Colour and Design". He proved to be an avid and enthusiastic teacher, bringing us out of our comfort zone and away from preconceived ideas about working with colour. The workshop, which was held at Newmarket's new Magna Recreational Complex, began with selecting light and dark palettes of colours for our swatches (12 colours just to get started!). This exercise seemed to be a challenge in itself, with hundreds of yarns to choose from.

Next came knitting our Fair Isle swatches and turning all the rules we ever had about combining colours upside down. There were KNOTS (gasp) to contend with! (Anyone who has taken classes from me know of my "no knots" rule.) Then there were the actual colours and moving past our usual comfortable choices. I was quite happy with my usual blues, purples and pinks when Brandon jolted my swatch with LIME GREEN and then later with browns, oranges and more greens. After I picked myself up, I had to admit that his combination was amazing (although don't expect to see it on my next sweater).
Here are several of the students swatches that are ready for critiquing by the expert - which Brandon did with great insight and useful suggestions - and his wonderful sense of humour.

There were door prizes, generously provided by Westminster Fibers, distributor of the fine Rowan yarns used in Brandon's designs. Jeanette was a winner of one of Kaffe Fassett's sweater kits called "Glacier".
Brandon also had many of his designs on display which provided us with a large measure of motivation and great appreciation of his skill.

This is Brandon's "Royal Cat" vest, showcasing his intricate detailing and effective use of so many different colours.

It was truly a day of inspiration and skill building for us all!
Posted by Karen

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kaffe Fassett's Kaleidoscope of Colour

The Kaffe Fassett "Kaleidoscope of Colour" lecture was designed to inspire and motivate. On Thursday evening, Serenity Knits and Evelyn's Sewing Centre used the beautiful backdrop of Madsen's Garden Centre in Newmarket, Ontario to host his presentation.

As an unexpected bonus, Brandon Mably, also from the Kaffe Fassett studio in London, England attended. He ran the projector and provided snippets of his wonderful sense of humour. Tomorrow he is conducting a colour and design knitting workshop for Serenity Knits.

The one hour power point presentation highlighted works from his latest projects including his knitting, patchwork quilt designs, needlepoint, mosaic and painting designs. Much of Kaffe's inspiration comes from the past, his worldwide travels and current surroundings. It gave us a glimpse into the mind of the world famous colourwork genius. The audience left invigorated and entranced by Fassett's use and sense of colour and ready to try it themselves.

After the seminar, Kaffe graciously answered questions from the audience, then signed books including his latest "Kaffe Knits Again".

Kaffe Fassett with Beth (left) and Karen (right) in front of the wall of Rowan yarns at the store.
Kaffe and Brandon had come to Serenity Knits in the afternoon before the lecture for a quick visit. Rowan has released its fall collection featuring several yarns designed by Kaffe. The colours and beauty of the yarns are overwhelming! Rowan is the yarn used in the knitwear of both designers and is featured in their books.
We felt very honoured to have both of these talented gentlemen spend time with us in our store. They weren't that different than we are when we find a yarn shop while on vacation. They were impressed with the choices in Canadian yarns. Brandon fell in love with 2 skeins of hand-dyed 100% Bamboo from Dye-Version that he was going to use in a commissioned design. It is dyed by two sisters in Mississauga and their colours are spectacular. It was fun to see Kaffe and Brandon touch, hold, ohh & ahh over the fibres - especially the vibrant colours. We wish they had time to join us for a project class. What great conversation and show & tell that would be!
Thanks for the inspiration.
Posted by Karen

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kaffe Fassett Trunk Show

Last week we had a special box arrive at the store containing samples of garments from the Kaffe Fassett Studio. They will be displayed at Serenity Knits until the conclusion of our special events featuring a lecture by Kaffe Fassett on Thursday, October 9th evening and a workshop taught by Brandon Mably on Friday, October 10th.

There are still a few tickets available for both events and you can contact the store for details.

The garments feature the Rowan collection of yarns for 2008 and include many of Kaffe's own colourway designs.

The two pictures above and one below feature Kaffe Fassett's new for fall 2008, Colorscape Chunky yarn, spun from 100% lambswool. It is a very soft, self striping yarn and is featured in his Colorscapes book.

These are a few of the billantly coloured garments featuring Kaffe Fassett's signature knitting style. The detailing is beautiful and if you have the opportunity, well worth seeing. Kaffe Fassett will be at our store on Friday, October 10th for a book signing at 4:15 P.M. We will have copies of his new book "Kaffe Knits Again" and his other published knitting books available.

The tapestry-like throw above, right is one of Kaffe Fassett's designs that we have displayed above our store counter. It has been knit from Rowan's Summer Tweed yarn.

More of Kaffe's colourful designs will be on display at his Thursday night lecture. There will also be another chance to obtain his autographed books. The lecture is described as "an opportunity to look inside the mind of one of the world's best known colorworks designers". He will be talking about how he finds inspiration for his brillant creations in not just knitting, but also quilting, needlework and ceramics. The venue will be presented against the backdrop of Madsen's Gardens floral displays (Bayview Parkway, Newmarket, Ontario).

We hope you can join us for a special evening of inspiration.