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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sock Yarn for Stash Enhancement

You can tell a lot about a knitter by looking at their stash. It is a window into some of the hopes and dreams of the knitter. It brings a measure of satisfaction and inspiration. It can serve as a list of the many special people the knitter is thinking about and who will soon (hopefully) benefit from a perfect knitted gift. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee even describes a stash in her book "Casts Offs, The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting" as "It's like a personalized yarn shop right in your house. (That's a goal, not a problem.)"

Yet, with all the obvious positives of a large yarn stash, many knitters fear that their stash may grow out of control. Over and over we hear dedicated knitters comment "so much yarn and so little time". One solution that is often advised for those with such a fear, is to just purchase sock yarn for your stash. You can buy a single ball at a time and indulge yourself in the amazing colours and luxurious fibres that are available, without taking up huge amounts of space or breaking the family budget.

Serenity Knits has recently brought in more sock yarn to safely supplement your stash. On the left is Araucania's Ranco, a fingering weight yarn of 75% wool and 25% polyamide. It is hand painted in Chile using natural dyes and is available in both beautiful variegated colourways and semi-solid colours.

On the right are our new colours of Colinette's Jitterbug. It contains 100% machine washable merino. This yarn has great stitch definition and is perfect for lace, cables, and other stitch patterns. It is lovely knit into summer tops and shawls as well as traditional socks.

You can add a little excitement to your stash and always be prepared - the summer is full of knitting opportunities.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Welcome Summer with Knitted Flamingos

For many families, the arrival of the warm weather means that it is time to open the swimming pool. Last summer, one of our very creative customers, Roselle knit an extremely classy flamingo "Pinky" to lounge in the chair on her pool deck. She sports beautiful long eyelashes, a coordinating pink necklace and hot pink plumage. Roselle's husband liked the pool guest so much, he requested his own version and "Tank" was knit to became Pinky's companion. When Tank is outdoors, he can be seen with his very own sunglasses.

Those of you who visited our store during the "Yarn Crawl" were greeted by the vibrant duo. They are knit from a Fiber Trends pattern and felted before assembly and stuffing. Roselle added her own special touches, but they can be "customized" to suit your own summer whimsy. Can't you just imagine Pinky and Tank relaxing under their umbrella and sipping lemonade ... ahhh - summer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Victoria Day Cottage Knitting

The Victoria Day Holiday Weekend is always an exciting one for our family as it is the time to open up the cottage for another season. The cottage is my favourite place to be - the only place where I can truly relax and take time for personal knitting projects. It is also a work weekend with the boat needing to be launched (our only access to the cottage), dock put in, water pump reconnected, storm windows removed and the interior cleaned and dusted. Supplies need to be boated in and then the wheelbarrow trip up to the cottage. All the linen needs to be put out and beds made up ...... you get the idea (much more work than knitting).

My Dad had a great surprise in store for me when we arrived. He had secretly visited the cottage several times during the great weather over the last couple or weeks and had done all the preparations. He had arranged to have the boat launched, motor tuned, taken a plumber across the channel to connect the water and had a huge new water heater installed. (Our last water heater was so tiny that we usually ended up with a cold shower after about two minutes). The storm windows were off and the flower gardens cleaned up. A neighbour that shares our dock wanted an early start to the season and had done the huge job of putting in the dock. All that was left for me was the indoor work and there weren't even many ladybugs and flies to sweep up this year.

The weather cooperated and I was in my Muskoka chair on the deck with my knitting in record time.

Our cottage is on beautiful Lake Huron and is located in an ecologically unique area that is a continuation of the sand dune system extending from the Pinery Provincial Park. Our only access is by water, across the channel from Port Franks. All our supplies need to be brought in by boat, which can be an adventure in itself. The truly refreshing part for our little community of cottages is the lack of cars or trucks. The landscape is still unspoiled, natural beauty.

Traditionally the cottagers all gather at the beach for a walk and visit at sunset. It's a great way to get to know your neighbours. The dogs all enjoy their frolic in the sand and fetch in the waves.

As usual the Lake Huron sunsets were glorious. This was Saturdays.

This is Sunday's splendor - just before the rain began.

After our sunset stroll it's back to the cottage for relaxation. Sierra dog recovers from the hard play, the guys read and my daughter Marie and I - of course - knit!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Every Season is Knitting Season

When I first started writing our blog back in January, I was housebound thanks to a winter storm. I snapped this picture from my knitting room window that overlooks the forest at the back of our house. I couldn't have been happier - a day when I could just stay home and knit for most of the day!

Here is the exact same view - yesterday. The colours have changed from white to green and I'm equally happy. Now is the perfect chance to take a few moments to sit on the back deck and do what else - but knit.

We often hear that many knitters don't like to knit when the warm weather arrives - they don't want "hot" wool sitting in their lap. With the wonderful new cool fibres that are available to knitters, there is no excuse to not knit year round.

Sierra, our black lab is always eager to help our with the woodland gardens.

Over the years, we have planted spring bulbs at the border of our lawn and the forest. The wild trillium and tulips blend beautifully.

The weather prediction for the Victoria Day holiday weekend indicates rain and cool weather. Sounds like another perfect forecast - a great chance to snuggle up and knit!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yarn Crawl

The second annual "Yarn Crawl" for the five yarn shops in Newmarket, Aurora, Bradford and Uxbridge took place today. This year, knitters were able to set their own schedule and route to cover the variety of stores.

The timing for the event was also perfect. Being the day before Mother's Day, several mothers and daughters (and even a mother and son) used the opportunity to spend time together sharing a love for all things "knitterly". Margaret (below and centre) enjoyed the day with both her mother and sister.

Friends like Jackie and Mary Joe made a full day of the fun and like many others included lunch in the plans. Great knitting patterns and yarn are the perfect starting point for a a great conversation over a tasty meal.

Here is our youngest shopper of the day already with a great taste for bright colours and wonderful fibre for summer knits.

Many thanks to Uxbridge's "On the Lamb" for coordinating this year's event. Also appreciated were "Needles and Knits", "Pick Up Sticks" and "Unwind Yarn House" for helping to provide a day of adventure for the avid knitter. Hopefully after today, everyone will have enough yarn in their stash to keep happily knitting into the relaxed days of summer.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Modular Knit Class

Gabriela teaches a class on modular knits. The project is a triangular cardigan. The stitches are picked up from the sides of the previously knit triangles, so that very little sewing is required.

A fun aspect of this project is choosing the various colours and yarn combinations. The example on the left is Doris's WIP (work in progress).

A very different effect is seen with Nancy's colour choices on the back piece of the cardigan. There are variations in the size and placement of the triangles.

Jeanette is using a totally different palette and coordinating the solid colours with variegated yarns.

Modular knitting is not limited to triangles and the class also learns to knit and join mitered squares, pentagons and hexagons.

This is a sample of the finished cardigan (with sleeves folded in for visibility) that Gabriela knit for the class. It's a contemporary shape that will work well for casual or dress occasions. If you are already comfortable with modular knitting, the pattern is available at the store. What a great way to use some of your existing yarn for a "stash buster" project!

Posted by Karen