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Friday, March 28, 2008

Great Knitting Projects from our Classes

Our "Project Class" knitters are such great knitters. They amaze us with not only the quantity of knitting, but also the excellent quality.

Jeanette has completed a Norah Gaughan design with a detailed yoke of interlocking pentagons.

Mary Joe is wearing her lovely Noro sweater (the second one that she has completed this winter).

Nancy is working on another top so that she is ready when spring actually arrives. She just celebrated a special birthday with a surprise cruise with the family. Her mother, Maria, knit her a spectacular skirt from Handmaiden Sea Silk with a coordinating top to wear during the trip.

Heather designed and knit this lovely sweater in the "Designing Your Perfect Sweater" class. She has placed a delicate lace patterned panel up the middle of each side of the cardigan and matching lace insets in the sleeves. The entire project was completed in just 2 months - from design concept to swatching, schematics, knitting, perfect finishing and now wearing with pride.

Well done to all our knitters. You inspire and motivate us! We celebrate with you when you share your finished projects with us. Keep the needles clicking and enjoy the many rewards that knitting brings.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Manos del Uruguay Trunk Show

In spite of an unwelcome blustery winter storm, Serenity Knits hosted a Manos Del Uruguay Trunk show last night. Our brave distributor from Ashley Yarns in Hamilton endured the horrible road conditions and spent a few hours "crawling" to our store. Our customers, who also deserve credit for struggling through the ice and snow, were rewarded with an exciting line of beautiful yarns.

There was plenty of anticipation as Letha from Ashley Yarns, brought bags (and a "trunk") full of garments, yarn and patterns into the store.

The new Manos silk and fine merino blend in a lighter DK weight had a lustrous palette of colours. There was also the traditional aran weight 100% wool and the worsted weight cotton "Stria" for us to enjoy. Over 100 hand dyed colours are now available.

Heather ( above left) and Gabriela (above right) both cuddled some "yummy" yarn that was begging to go home with them.

Joan (left)with help from Doris had fun trying to figure our which was the right way to wear the Manos "many options" knit jacket. It did look great!

Patti (right) checked out the colour choices - the hardest part was picking just one favourite.

Letha explained the Free Trade aims of the Manos Del Uruguay Cooperative. "The goal was to develop economic opportunities for the women in rural Uruguay, where there were and continue to be few opportunities for work." The dyeing process that was originally done in iron kettles heated over wood fires has been refined. The colours are now kept consistent using stainless steel pots and steam heat to produce the beautiful Manos "stria" trademark product. The co-ops spin and dye Manos yarn as well as knit blankets and garments. These artisans and handworkers are provided with a fair wage for their high quality products.

If you weren't able to attend the Manos Trunk Show, Ashley Yarns has graciously allowed us to display most of the garments, yarn and patterns for another week. You still have time to be inspired by this exciting yarn and as the Manos co-operatives say "We'd like to change the world, one skein at a time".


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring has Arrived

Our store transformation has happened. The winter yarns have gone into hibernation, only to be replaced by the bright colours of the spring fibres. I am a bit of a "clean and neat freak" around the store (actually Beth would likely call it compulsive) and can't stand seeing a skein out of place. The last couple of weeks have been "traumatic" for me, with the store totally upside down (see March 8'08 blog). Right on time though, spring arrived here with the new yarns blossoming with incredible project possibilities. Here is a preview of what you'll find.

Above is our Super 10 Butterfly Cotton that knits beautifully to either DK (22 st / 4 in) or worsted (20 st / 4 in) depending on your choice of needle size. It is machine washable and dryer safe. There are cheery colours for every taste.

This is Needful Yarns "Kelly" in variegated shades with the coordinating "Kim" solids. It is a worsted cotton blend - light and cool, with a great selection of patterns for summer fashions.
Nashua's Creative Focus Cotton, a 100% worsted cotton, was extremely popular last summer with its extensive array of colours. We brought it back this year complete with all the new shades. It is perfect for lace garments and there are samples in the store so you can see and feel the lovely effect.

Felting is still extremely popular, with many knitters making the Noni purses, blooming with bouquets of felted flowers for spring and summer. We have an entire "felting wall" complete with Cascade 220 and Nashua Creative Focus yarns.

If you still have a few winter projects that you need to get to before starting on your spring wardrobe, we don't mind disturbing our hibernating yarns for you. We are in awe of the organized knitters who are working on gifts for next Christmas. We aren't that disciplined, so you'll need to excuse us as we happily play with the new arrivals. Welcome Spring!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Farewell to a Dear Friend

Many of you were greeted in the store during the first months that we were open by my two dogs. My sheltie, Sprite and black lab, Sierra would join me at work when there wasn't going to be anyone at home to look after them. By the time that evening classes were underway, they were worn out from all their duties of the day and were quite content to catch a few winks under the teaching table.
Sprite was well versed in knitting; usually sitting at my feet when I was working on a project. He was unquestionably the cutest model that we had for store samples. This was his modelling debut, sporting Barbara Telford's "Cat and Mouse" hat.

It is with heartfelt sadness that I'm sharing with you that Sprite went to "doggy heaven" this week following complications of an age-related illness. He had been our family's faithful companion for 14 years. You'll understand my red eyes and more than usual slip-ups when you see me in the store for the next little while. My furry knitting partner will be truly missed.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

At least spring is arriving here

We are in the middle of another major winter storm; again. I love snow if I can ski on it, but it's no fun when there is so much that it makes walking and driving treacherous.

At least there are signs that spring is arriving at our store. Our usually neat and tidy shop is now undergoing a season change and turning upside down in the process.
This is the time of year that winter yarns go into hibernation and the cheery new spring yarns take their place on the shelves. New yarns are arriving in a steady stream - Beth and I get so excited when we see the courier trucks pull into the plaza. By the end of next week at least it should be full bloom spring - here anyways.


Monday, March 3, 2008

On Top of the World

Steve and I have just returned home from a week of holidays at Mont-Tremblant, a ski resort area north of Montreal.

It was the perfect winter get-away. We skied during the day with nearly perfect conditions (the minus 20 Celsius that we had the last couple of days kept the crowds away). Dinner was always with a touch of Quebec flair; then I had the entire evening to knit!

The scenery was beautiful, with amazing views at every turn of the ski trails. I took notes of the many hand knit ski hats worn by the skiers.

This is a picture of the gondolas that kept us cozy on the ride to the top of the slopes. It was a 9 minute trip from the base to the peak and my only regret was that I didn't think to tuck any knitting into my pockets for the ride. The splendor of the view of the snow covered wonderland made up for my oversight.

When I've unpacked, you'll get a glimpse of a week's worth of holiday knitting.