Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 13
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SPUN YARN #13

Late Summer, 2006

TKD crew on lunch break.
Some of the TKD crew enjoying the five minutes of sun we had this spring: Karen, Lucy, Kathleen and Susan.

Greetings Knitbuddies,
I'm home at last after some memorable and extensive travels. "Great, but what about the DVDs?", I hear you ask; "Were they not promised to us for May, or at least June?"
Yes, dear reader, they do in fact exist: the DVDs are very, very, ever so excruciatingly nearly ready to go into production. More on this sensitive topic later!
dvd covers

After a week of frantically working my way through the truly terrifying backlog of papers and notes in the office, I am just beginning to achieve some sense of order (delusional maybe, but it works for me). I am now fearlessly tackling long lists (both domestic and knit-related) and slaying "round-to-it"s with a vengeance.

Looming large on the domestic list is the reclamation of the front sitting room for activities such as sitting and knitting, chatting and knitting or listening (to music/books on my Pod) and knitting (all in an atmosphere blissfully uninterrupted by the sounds of gunfire so popular in "boy's" movies): it is the room without a TV.
Once Christmas is over and the tree is sitting forlornly in the snow bank awaiting composting, this room slips all to easily into its alternative role: that of sneaky dumping place and suitcase transfer station.
One of the worst forms of clutter that infests this space is the multitude of temporarily abandoned bags of MY knitting: I must gird my loins and come to grips with them.

This bag accumulation has a direct connection with my travels on several levels: During the last and most desperate stages of departure fever, multiple projects MUST be packed for the forthcoming trip. Each project is required to be useful and further some design idea, and yet be sufficiently developed for on-the-go knitting. The early trial-and-error stages are not wise travel-knitting.

Then the appropriate receptacle must be chosen; I am lucky enough to have one of the foremost collections of knitting bags on the Eastern Seaboard of the continent of North America. I have deep ones, wide ones, pretty ones and ones with pockets; each emblazoned with the name of the guild, store or state from which it hailed, each with its own sentimental attachments. How on earth to decide?

Into the selected vessel I must stow my needles. The selection needs to be wide enough to cover all eventualities (including possible airline confiscation, which means duplicating the needles in the carry-on luggage, just in case). Yarns (in every colour that my heart desires or might desire tomorrow) and print-outs of any pattern notes thus far written. I naturally enclose far more of everything than I could possibly need (unless some catastrophe held me captive with my knitting for in excess of three years).

The chosen bag or bags then sally forth with me, their contents finding favour or not, as the mood takes. Rarely can anything be completed on the road; it is never the right moment, somehow. On my return, they are hauled out of my cases and thrust into a corner of the Suitcase Transfer Station (the only room in the house which isn't already chock-full of knitting). There they sit full of expectation and promise.
This year has been an extraordinarily busy one, with only the briefest of respites between trips: so these bags have now accumulated into a large sulky heap. This pile conceals huge quantities of yarn, more knitting needles than a woman should own, and the fruits of my needle-labours this half year.

Somehow or other I now have to find sufficient determination to sit down with each bag in turn and examine its contents, re-file the assorted needles, tape measure, miscellaneous notes, partial balls of yarn, pencils, and other more esoteric items that have crept into the bags and are now long forgotten. Just about anything could be lurking there! Maybe I should get danger pay?
I then have to make the even more emotionally draining determination as to which projects need five minutes work and a bit of thinking to complete, and which should be labelled (and whose needles should be liberated) whilst they go into full hibernation or cryogenic storage.

This whole process I find very hard to embark upon and I can find any number of creative ways to avoid getting started; speaking of which, I am sure I should go for a hike right now! Have I mentioned that I'm in training?
In all seriousness, I have only about 35 days before I'm heading west to the Yukon with my husband, knit-buddy Karen and knitting daughter Holly, to tackle a river and then hike the Chilkoot Trail with a few friends. (I'll let you know if we survive climbing the Golden Staircase: it goes up at a most impressive angle!)

This expedition seemed like a great idea a while a ago, but now I'm beginning to doubt my fitness, so into my life-and-order campaign, I am squeezing practice hikes with a loaded pack, as frequently as possible. I only hope I am not called upon to disgorge the contents of my practice-pack, they would make a strange list: the heaviest and bulkiest items that could be found to hand and could be borrowed indefinitely without causing any hardship. My pack contains several pairs of heavy boots (none of which would fit me), a few miscellaneous winter jackets (for padding), a couple of packs of rice (useful 2 kg weight increments with no sharp corners), a family pack of nutty bars (could possibly be useful), a cushion (for bulk) and numerous useless and un-camperlike items! An outsider might also ask why we are striding around local recreational trails with full packs and walking sticks? The other question I have had plenty of time to ponder is: "Why is it that hiking muscles are entirely unrelated to cycling muscles?" My legs get back on the bike and think: "Bliss!"

By way of training, I'm even almost relishing relocating the 146 x 36lb boxes of Cool Socks Warm Feet books (our third printing) that arrived from the printers, and were deposited in the garage in my absence .
Did I mention that knitting had invaded almost every crook and nanny of this house? The Garage, however, is hallowed male ground and the Tradewinds Crew have been shifting boxes out of there as fast as possible and dispersing them around the house. Anyone have room for ten cases of books? They make a great occasional table!

This brings us to the forthcoming influx of DVDs (which will also be looking for space); however, we will be cheering loudly to see them arrive: we have been inching ever closer to production for what seems like forever.
Filming, as you may possibly remember, took place in January and February this year, after which editing proceeded apace. Then began the challenging period of endeavouring to put the finishing touches to the edits: during my longest (three weeks) period at home, Powerpost Productions had to close for two weeks to move to new premises, which then left them with a backlog of work! We are rather small beer when it comes to competing with the production of CBC's "This Hour has 22 Minutes", and were therefore back-burnered.
It also seemed that whenever I was in town, the editing crew were not. For example, I returned from my Windy City KG/TNNA trip just recently at 0230 (yes, a fine time, neither morning nor night!) and was to be found seven hours later ensconced (with strong coffee) in the editing suite in Halifax where I then spent the next two full days, since Colin had to head out to Montreal! This was a little confusing to my family, who were under the impression that I was returning home. However, the sock edits are done, and done well!

Just to state the obvious: we are now behind our anticipated release date. Happily, we are at the end of the indexing process; a long complicated (and expensive) process of linking the chapters to the topics, and topics to the examples, to enable you to navigate smoothly around the subjects. It is very tempting to rush these final stages, but I'm gritting my teeth and resisting. I am sure it will be worth the extra few days, although I can hardly wait to hear of your reaction to the Contented Stitch section!

We apologise to those of you who have prepaid orders pending and are patiently waiting, needles poised: the addressed envelopes are all ready to leave as soon as they are stuffed....
For a preview of the covers and the index lists, see the website's DVD pages.

Since I last put fingers to keyboard I have become hooked on a new obsession: I-pod-itis. It started innocently enough, a good friend (very generously and trustingly, as I now know what a big deal it to part with one's pod) lent me her pod to listen to a knitting podcast. I was on the road and thus didn't have the chance to listen for very long, but the damage was done. This experience, coupled with our producer Colin's suggestion that we should market some clips of the DVD downloadable for pods have tipped me down the slippery slope to techno-dweebiness. I have (with help from tech-savvy friends) copied Knitting Essentials 1 to my pod and it plays remarkably well. In the fullness of time we hope to make sections of the DVDs easily available to poddists through www.theknittingvault.com. You can also find .pdf patterns from many designers, including me, available for instant purchase there. This a great postage- and time-saver for pattern purchases.


Holly's blanket For those of you who, in the last Spun Yarn, read about my daughter Holly's sudden metamorphosis into a serious knitter , I enclose a photo of one of her WIPs: she took the Domino Blanket idea and ran with it... as you might be able to tell, she too seems attracted to colour . It was also obvious that she has fully joined the knitting side when her response to having to wait a couple of days for her final Provincial chemistry exam was not to study like crazy, but to fall eagerly upon a ball of sock yarn and embark on a new sock!

I must now say my farewells and get back to my frantic campaign for order, before the lazy-hazy-summer-days inertia steals over me (mind you, if it continues to rain as it has this last week, I should get a LOT of work done). Have you ever noticed how your first day of vacation lasts a full 24 hours packed with action, fun and new experiences, but every succeeding day passes ever faster?

Wishing you all contented stitches,
Lucy


PS. With order comes creativity (for me), so I'd better get things straight before I become overwhelmed with new ideas. I've done three of the infamous "knitting bags"... I'm not revealing how many more there are to go!

PPS. LATE-BREAKING NEWS: Just as this letter was about to shoot off into cyberspace, we were informed that the first two DVD titles are now at the production plant ready to roll. Time for a Happy Dance!



New Products and Patterns



A new pattern from Lucy........

Origami Bags Origami Bag (#870)
With a single fold this entire bag can be constructed with one piece of yarn! (Yes - only two yarn tails). A fun mini-bag with many uses, and so deliciously addictive. Great on-the-go gift knitting.

Size: Depth 4 - 7", adjustable. Width: entirely up to you and your yarn.
Yarn: Sport or heavier.
Techniques: Over-the-needle Provisional Crochet Cast-On, Unattached and Applied I-cord (Plain and Bi-coloured).
Level:Determined Beginner/Intermediate
Price:Pattern: $6 Cdn
Origami Bags


Knitter's Companion DVD series

Special Just-pre-release Offer for Spun Yarn Subscribers!

FREE shipping to anywhere in North America: $29 Cdn (for Canadian customers)/ $29 US (for U.S. customers) per DVD.

Pre-paid DVD orders are now being accepted (until July 30th) for any, or all, of the 4 titles listed below:

Pre-paid orders will be shipped the week the DVDs become available (anticipated sooner rather than later).

A Knitter's Companion Series of DVDs

Make friends with your stitches....on this series of DVDs Lucy shares a wide range of knitting techniques that she considers to be fundamental to all types of knitting. The commentary includes even the minute details that knitters observe subconsciously whilst knitting. These points give confirmation to the knitter that all is going well, and will lead to an ability to read the knitted fabric easily.
The techniques are presented in the inimitable Lucy-style which has made her workshops so popular. The Knitter's Companion series covers the skills that Lucy feels "no knitter should leave home without".
Each disc contains unique information and the series of discs build one on the another.


A Knitter's Companion Series:

Knitting Essentials 1 (2+ hours)
Knitting Essentials 2 (2+ hours)
Sock Knitting Techniques 1 (2.5+ hours)
Sock Knitting Techniques 2 (2.5+ hours)
Socks 1 and 2 cover the techniques described in Lucy's book Cool Socks Warm Feet.
As soon as our webmistress can make it appear there, the full table of contents for each DVD will be found on our DVD pages.

Lucy's Knitting Tip

This is all filmed on DVD Knitting Essentials 2 and Socks 2; the Origami Bag is a great design on which to practise this technique !

The most incredibly useful technique for the blossoming knitter is the Provisional Crochet Cast On:
This method gives a temporary cast-on edge which may be easily removed later to leave live loops (which may be used as stitches).
The method most often given in knitting books and magazines is to make a very loose single crochet chain in your temporary yarn and then to knit with your working yarn through the back of each crochet chain in turn. This the shortest route to the funny farm IMHO!
I reckon you have about a 1/3 chance of finding the back of the crochet chain, as it is tricky to identify, especially 73 times in succession. One mis-identified 'back of chain' will result in a jam. So try this method instead, it works beautifully.......
crochet provisional cast-on #1
Starting position: Keep the slipknot loose on the crochet hook.
crochet provisional cast-on #2
Hold the tail with the thumb and reach across and grab the yarn with the hook (from above or below as pictured).
Keeping a slight tension on the provisional yarn with the left hand will help to keep the yarn in the hook.
crochet provisional cast-on #3
Pull the loop of yarn through the first slipknot.
crochet provisional cast-on #4
Flip the working yarn back behind the needle and repeat from #2.
crochet provisional cast-on #5
Five provisional stitches on the needles plus the unravel-me-from-this-end chain dangling off the needle.
Cut the provisional yarn and extend the last loop until the tail pulls through.

P. S. :

For those travelling knitters looking for big city, bright lights and yarn:
Judy Fawcett is running a knitting trip to NYC in November '06 and has one or two spaces still available for more info contact Judy at Lloyds Travel & Cruises Ltd. Telephone 604-999-0075, E-mail judy@lloydstravel.com.
(Judy is known to some of you as the travel organizer for my Adventure Knitting camps and she puts on a finely orchestrated trip: this should be a blast!)
Knit New York November 15 to November 20, 2006
Pack up your knitting needles and your walking shoes for a Six Day/Five Night Knitting Adventure.
Included in Your Knit New York City Adventure: Five nights deluxe accommodation, Five breakfasts, Welcome reception.
Tour Vogue Knitting Studio and meet magazine editor Carla Scott. Join audience at CBS Early Show and tour studio. Ride the Knitting Bus. VIP seating and Champagne Brunch at fashion show. Ticket to Broadway show. Dinner at New York City restaurant. Return transportation airport/hotel. Metro Pass. Tour of Manhattan yarn shops/opportunity to meet New York knitters. On site escort. Goodies and More ......


The end.


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