Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Introducing the EMPIRE CLUB

Serenity Knits invites you to join The Empire Club.

Membership in the EMPIRE CLUB is offered FREE to Serenity Knits and our customers by our newest yarn distributor, OLD MILL KNITTING. With your free membership, you will receive a monthly e-newsletter. OLD MILL selects from among their various yarns, one specific yarn to feature for a 2- 3 month period. It may be a brand new yarn, or new colours and patterns for a yarn from previous seasons. Each newsletter will include coupons for free patterns or discounts on the purchase of the featured yarn. The patterns and yarns they will be promoting will be available at Serenity Knits.

To join, give us a call at 905-713-3283 or e-mail us at info@serenityknits.ca and give us your name and e-mail address. That is all there is to it, no fee involved and no purchases necessary. If you wish to take advantage of any coupons or discounts, visit Serenity Knits where you will be able to see first hand the merchandise being promoted. We will honour your coupons.
If you join up right away, the yarn currently being featured is Twilleys of Stamford - Freedom Spirit
Freedom Spirit produces a fantastic fairisle look the easy way, all from the same ball! Made from 100% pure new wool, Spirit is a smooth yarn which is highly enjoyable to knit and produces lovely fashionable and classic garments from a collection of designs available in books and individual patterns.

The cover garment for the above book is knit in colourway Bliss

The attractive Chevron Sweater Jacket (above) is knit in colourway Verve

Their patterns come in both books and individual leaflets. Their designs are good classic garments that will be in fashion for years.

This Bias Knit Sweater (above) is in the colourway Fire.

Other colours

We have ordered 10 colourways, all the books and several leaflets. Karen has fallen in love with the Chevron jacket and is considering it as a group knit-a-long project for the fall.

The featured yarn for September/October is Naturally Aran Tweed.
ARAN 10ply 95% NewZealand MERINO 5% WOOL KNOPS
Needle size: 4-5mm / US 6-8
Tension: 20sts 26 rows 4"/10cm
Approx 92m / 101yds per 50 gram ball
Care of garment: hand wash, cool iron, dry flat in shade.
We have ordered books, leaflets and 8 colours.

The designs are again fairly classic garments.

The book of children's designs are absolutely adorable.

If you have any questions about THE EMPIRE CLUB, please feel free to speak with Karen or me.
July 31st Update
Part of our order of Freedom Spirit has arrived. We have about 8 of the colourways and several books and patterns. We are in the process of planning our classes for the fall. Gabriela and Karen have both selected garments from the Freedom Spirit Collection as class projects.
Karen is planning a Knit-a-long with the Chevron Sweater Jacket (pictured earlier in this blog) as the project.
Gabriela is planning an instructional class in Mitered Knitting with the Bias Knit Sweater (pictured earlier in this blog) as the class project.
Gabriela is thinking of Thursday afternoons, starting in late September. Karen is considering Tuesday afternoons, also starting in late September. Look for the final dates and times for these classes when we post our FALL CLASS SCHEDULE in late August.
If you join The Empire Club before August 12th, you will receive via their e-newsletter, a coupon for a 10% discount on the purchase of Freedom Spirit Yarn. If you sign up after the 12th, your membership will start with the September Feature, Naturally Aran Tweed. The Freedom Spirit Discount Coupon will expire the end of August, but OLD MILL KNITTING has generously offered to extend the expiry to the end of September. So if you think you might be interested in either of these classes, sign up for the Club before August 12th so you don't miss out on the coupon. If you are eligible for a student discount, we will apply both the student discount (10%) and the Empire Club discount - a total of 20% discount.
Any question, give us a call or drop by.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Brunswick in July

I have just returned from ten wonderful days in New Brunswick visiting with my family at our cottage on Grand Lake. My timing was perfect, I missed the heat wave. The pace of life is much slower down east. Everything is simpler and less complicated. Fredericton Airport, one entrance, one departure gate. It doesn't get much easier.
Fredericton is an old city, one of the oldest in Canada. The Saint John River runs through the centre of the city.

I grew up in the part of Fredericton know as Devon, on the north side of the river. The picture below is of the business district of the city located on the south side of the river. It is taken from the park at the end of the street where I grew up.
The picture below is of Queen Street, in the center of the older business district of Fredericton.The building with the tower is Fredericton's City Hall. The larger building beside it is now the New Brunswick Department of Justice offices and courts. Over the years this building has served many purposes. My mother attended teachers college there. In my day, it was a high school where I attended grade 10.
The park below is one of many green spaces in and around Fredericton.
A few hundred yards down this path from the park, you will reach the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

The contributions of Lord Beaverbrook, a wealthy media baron in his day, are evident all over New Brunswick but especially in Fredericton. Several world class paintings were donated by Lord Beaverbrook, his wife Lady Dunn and their son, Sir. Max Aitken, to the gallery which bears the Beaverbrook name. In the front entrance of the gallery is a Salvador Dali painting, Santiago El Grande.
I can not begin to describe how breathtaking this painting is. It is very large, I'm guessing maybe 15 by 25 feet. You can get lost in this painting. The painting depicts one of the saints ascending to heaven with Christ. There are benches placed immediately in front of Santiago El Grande. The painting is so large and so beautiful, you really need to sit awhile and immerse yourself in all the detail of this masterpiece.
Being an old city, Fredericton is full of historic buildings. The building above was originally military barracks, now serving as a museum. This is also right downtown Fredericton on Queen Street. The greens in front are often full midday with folks from neighbouring business and government offices enjoying lunch in the park.
This lighthouse is not on some remote ocean shore. Also, right downtown on the Saint John River banks, it serves as a Tourist Information office.
Swimming in the river is a little iffy. I lived a 5 minute walk from the river and have never swam in it. But the river chanel is wide and deep enough for use by pleasure craft.
Fredericton is the home of my Alma mater, University of New Brunswick. All those red brick buildings on the hill are UNB. Established in 1785, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) is the oldest English language university in Canada and was the first public university in North America.
UNB shares a campus with Saint Thomas University.
The bridge in front of this row team used to be a train bridge. Rail service through Fredericton stopped years ago. The bridge has been converted to a foot bridge and is often used by students on the north side of the river on their way to classes as it connects with the foot of University Avenue which leads directly to the campus.
Just a couple of hundred yards down Waterloo Row from the "train bridge" is Christ Church Cathedral built in 1845.
A Saturday tradition for many Fredericton residents is the W.W. Boyce Farmers Market. It is open Saturdays, all year. During warmer months, the out door spaces around the market building are full with dozens of vendors with fresh produce, herbs, flowers & bedding plants, handcrafted garden furniture ....... the list goes on and on. During winter months there are fewer vendors using only the indoor spaces.
Farmers Market is where I discovered Tim who makes our fabulous shawl pins.

It is where I also discovered Barb, aka Woodsmoke Woolworks, who designs a line of the cutest hats, socks, mitts & sweaters you will ever seen.
We have samples of Barb's hats and carry all her patterns. Barb uses Briggs & Little, a rustic east coast yarn, but Cascade 220, which we always have in stock, is a perfect substitute.

Morning Glories
Sheep and Lambs
Market offers opportunity to check out local crafts.

We always go to market early in the morning and enjoy "breakfast" from any of the dozens of food stands including many ethnic cuisines.

Most produce vendors are organic and/or small family farms. Their produce may have been collected just that morning and doesn't get any fresher.
New Brunswickers have a sense of humour. You think our gas prices are bad. It is always worse down east.
The highway from Fredericton to Grand Lake travels along the Saint John River through prime produce farming areas. Several produce stands have been in existence along this route for years. One in particular always gets a lot of attention from tourists for their giant potato man which has stood outside their produce stand since I was a kid.

While at the cottage I managed to do a lot of knitting. I have four young nephews, 2 aged 4 and 2 aged 6 who want fish hats for Christmas. This adorable design, called Dead or Alive, is free on http://www.knitty.com/

You can find the free pattern here. http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter08/PATTfishy.php

I knit 3 pairs of socks while at the cottage. My niece Lisa had never seen self-striping sock yarn. She hasn't done a lot of knitting but decided she had to give it a try. We headed off to the only yarn shop in Fredericton. I had just heard about it from one of our sales reps who had just been there.
When I arrived at Yarns on York, I could not believe it. When I was very young, my Dad owned a magazine, candy & tobacco shop. Yarns on York was in my Dad's old shop!!!!
Lisa feel in love with colour 930.

Later, at Chapter's getting some magazines, I found my favourite sock book which I use as the reference for my sock classes, so I bought Lisa an early Christmas present. I was also pleased to find another neat sock book......
I felt rather stupid when I got back to Serenity Knits and realized we have it also.

I bought one of my favourite kids books for my little nephews. Bunnicula, described as "Twilight" for kids, is a story told from the perspective of a family's pet dog. When the family bring home a new pet rabbit, their other pets are convinced it is a vampire. It is hilarious. If you have to read kids books, it is nice if you can at least enjoy them also.
After Market & Chapters, we wanted to go one of my favourite restaurants but it was just getting too hot. El Burrito Loco has some of the best authentic mexican food I have ever tasted and I love Mexican- have been eating it for years from dozens of places including Mexico. The Canadian owner lived in Mexico for several years. When she and her Mexican husband returned to Fredericton, they opened this little restaurant and I have never tasted better, more authentic Mexican food.
Back at the cottage we cooked up our own Mexican feast. I am the youngest of 5. I have 9 nieces and nephews most of whom are married with kids of their own. At any point and time, there can be up to 30 people at the cottage. It is busy but fun. With several people to share the work load of preparing food, we eat very well. Mexican is a family favourite. We often use recipies from an old Better Homes and Gardens book now out of print. The white wine sangria recipe in this book with fresh strawberries and pineapple is out of this world.
This year, my sister-in-law Joyce, took it upon herself to tell everyone not to bring desserts!!!!! I was not consulted on this but it was probably wise. The 5 pounds I gained in 10 days probably would have been 10 if all the desserts we normally have on hand had been there. We were very good. One niece ignored the ban and brought a huge pan of a gooey peanut/caramel type squares which lasted one day. July is the height of strawberrie season in New Brunswick so we had to have strawberrie shortcake a couple of times. But other than that, we were pretty good. The worst is my sister-in-law Joan. She hosts a weekly cooking show on a Nova Scotia cable network, East Link, called Welcome to My Kitchen. Every recipie she uses has to be made 2 or 3 times so she always has a freezer of great stuff, especially sweets, which she usually brings to the cottage.
We can not get Welcome to My Kitchen up here, but if you go to their website
there is a link to all the recipies Joan has cooked. And if you have a problem with any of them, I have an in with the chef and can get your questions answered.

Any way, lots of good company, good food, good weather, cold beer and knitting. It was a great ten days.