Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 18
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SPUN YARN #18

September 2007


The flowers in my little garden Hello knitting friends,

Welcome to our 18th newsletter! We have had a too-short, but fun-filled, summer here in Nova Scotia. Some weeks ago, the Atlantic fog finally lifted and the sun came out: the flowers are now flourishing, but recent cool nights signal the inevitable arrival of the Knitting Season.
The flowers in my little garden

I have huge respect for the intrepid souls that made the long dangerous journey from afar to settle and farm here, only to discover that the growing season is pitifully short, and that the best crop from our soil is rocks (they seem to grow and reproduce over the winter, quite unaided)! If you'd like a little taste of being a European settling on the East coast (albeit somewhat further north than Halifax), in the form of an entertaining novel, try Random Passage by Bernice Morgan: it's a great read.
(Entirely unrelated: another exceptionally great local novel (set in Nova Scotia), is The Birth House by Ami McKay.)

Formerly Sam's bedroom...

We have been busy at Tradewinds, not chasing DVDs through the manufacturing process as last year, but making further expansions: we now have offices situated on all three floors of the house! Until this point we had not encroached upon the upstairs, but my son has now, unknowingly, donated his bedroom as my new book office. (However, with a little advance notice, the bed is still operable.)

I have at last been able to get back to work on completing a new book (Cool Bags Hot Knit Tricks) which was started a couple of summers ago. It had to be mothballed due to travel commitments (it is difficult to play properly without all one's toys to hand). No excuses now: I have a dedicated space and a computer not shared with the main office (I'm sure Susan is very happy to have me out of the way)!

the BAG shelf Getting back into book mode, which entailed finding all the files, notes and bags and then sorting them out was a herculean task; I called for organizational help from a good friend and librarian! We were rather surprised to find that, after giving each type of bag a unique number, we had close to thirty different bags, and many of those have multiple different examples within the same style. The push is now on to see how many we can squeeze between the covers of a book without having to supply a wheelbarrow for you to carry it home in. It is very difficult to make the final decision, as I'm rather fond of all the bags, so I'm beginning by "polishing" my favorites first.
We are hoping to be able to have the book ready by June 2008. Currently it is difficult to imagine that this deadline is achievable: I feel as if I am emerging from a time vortex created by teenagers and camping trips, but with luck and a couple of days alone, I'll be back on top of things, or at least scrambling for the summit!


Sam and I showing fine form This summer we have not traveled far afield: we made some camping trips to Nova Scotia's Kejimkujik National Park, a canoeing paradise. It is rather nice to be camped on one's own little island, sipping tea on the beach and watching a glorious sunset (as well as the clouds, harbingers of tomorrow's weather). Hearing the loons call to each other over the lakes is downright magical. You wouldn't believe what we ate...
One of the great Keji sunsets

In between family camping trips, I diligently worked on getting my legs (and other tender bits of my anatomy) into a fit shape to bicycle the seriously hilly Cabot Trail once again. Check out the album for some beautiful photos of the Trail. Is it not interesting that in not one photograph does it appear to be raining or blowing? We, of course had headwinds all the way around, not to mention an absolute deluge on the Saturday night (roads were washed out!!); North Mountain was even steeper than it used to be. Still, the ride is a spectacular one, weather or not.
Well, I survived the Cabot Trail ride again and the weekend's bike clothes are on the line; excuse me as I retire to a well-upholstered chair!
Cabor Trail laundry
A warm day at River John's Lismore Sheep Farm Lucy at Lismore Farm
Last month I had an opportunity to visit the renowned Lismore Farm in River John, home of many sheep as well as the birchwood swing-needles produced in Nova Scotia, which I now see in many of the stores across the continent. (For a small province, we have a significant presence on the knitting scene: don't forget we are home to the Fleece Artist and Ilga Leja, too!)
Gillian and John Crawford, their family, friends and neighbours host a wonderful Open House each summer and this year I was invited to join them and do some mini-workshops. They really go to great lengths to make it an entertaining day for everyone. Of course there were wonderful things for knitters (we are easy to please), but they had thought of delightful activities for children and family members as well. The toss-the-sheep event really tickled me: honestly, it was a large stuffed toy sheep! River John itself is in a beautiful part of Nova Scotia, making the journey there and back very enjoyable.
My heart belongs to ......
The trip to River John was further enhanced by the hard work of a new member of our team: Min, on her first official outing, really enjoyed the winding country roads. Now that she is sporting her stitches, I have to remind her that she is a real working girl : she has to carry large loads of brilliantly coloured yarn around, as well as cases of DVDs. (It is amazing how much we can stuff in her!)
As you can imagine, the lime-green Contented Stitch graphic and "Make your stitches smile!" on her doors cause a degree of puzzlement to the uninitiated (which is most of the world)!
Our first company truck
Lucy on a tugboat It's off to sea I go ... I wish!
Halifax has once again played host to a gathering of the Tall Ships. Somehow the Weather Gods always seem to smile on their visits! I was lucky enough to be able to give myself a day off to watch the great sail-past from a tugboat, but I did take my knitting along, and again managed to restrain myself from running off to sea. (I have been sorely tempted on past occasions.)
Isn't that a handsome rig sailing by near the town?

Librarians (and other organized people) rejoice!
For those of you with any of our DVDs in your knitting library, we'd like to mention a new tool to help you find the topic you are seeking: a reverse index. Look up the subject, and you will be able to find the appropriate DVD and chapter (or whether we have covered this yet). This will soon be found on our website in the DVD section.

Also, for the librarians amongst you, (I know that there is a very significant correlation between knitting and library skills, certainly around Halifax): we are into the new printing of the DVD covers, featuring their celebrity reviews, correcting the spelling of Kintting, and introducing a unique alphabet letter at the top of the spine of each disc to make on-the-shelf differentiation a little easier.

Yes, a mouse nest in the BBQ EEK! Another mouse...
Do you remember the mouse story (Spunyarn #16)? We now have a sequel: On opening the barbeque (fortunately prior to ignition), guess what we found? I am just hoping that its cousin doesn't decide to move into the Mini (because you know what we'd have to call her!).
And here is the mouse.

Well, I must bring this to a close now, as autumn seems to have arrived all of a sudden, urging me to start packing my bags and prepare for our forthcoming Adventure Knitting Trip to Saltspring Island in British Columbia.


Happy stitches to you,
Lucy



New Products

Mermaid handpaint Celestial Merino: we add six new colours!
We have added 6 new colours to the range of Celestial Merino mottled solids: Mango, Poppy, Peony Pink, Viola, Meadow, Damson, as well as another handpaint colourway: Mermaid.
These will be appearing soon on the Yarn pages of the website.
Celestial Merino mottled solids
New luxury yarn
We have a new luxury yarn blend in stock, which we are calling "Cat's Pajamas!"
It is a succulent blend of Merino, Cashmere and Nylon (80/10/10%) is ideal for decadent socks (a well-spun 3-ply with wool for elasticity and warmth, cashmere for softness and sufficient nylon for durability) and heavenly for almost anything else. One stroke of this yarn and all willpower is gone. In trying to describe this yarn I became lost for words, the simplest way to sum it up is, it is truly the "Cat's Pajamas!"

Limited time introductory offer (expires October 31, 2007): $32.00 Cdn per (300 meters) 100g skein (regular price $35.00)
Colours: available in all 8 of our handpaint colourways.

Knitting Tip

Knitting Tip:
Street-proofing for knitters.

We teach our children to be street-smart and aware, how to look after themselves. As knitters we need to take the same approach. You, and only you, know what you are seeking from your knitting.

When approaching a bewitching design, indulge in some mental knitting first, and take an overview of the whole: see if you can spot any potential problems before you begin.

For example, a plain stocking stitch sweater suddenly wants to become cabled all over: Does the pattern include any adjustment in needle size or stitch numbers to compensate?
Or, what provision has been made for the long floats of yarn between the rows of dear little duck motifs? Always keep in mind that far too often CUTE = TRICKY; don't let your guard down!

Has it been designed for flat knitting or in the round? Could it be converted? Is it wool or cotton? If you weave the floats in, will the colours show through? What type of knitting does the remainder of the piece require? If the rest of the front is plain stocking stitch, then you'd likely be better off using intarsia technique, but if the remainder is stranded, then do strand the ducks, but consider adding a facing to cover the floats.

Look carefully at the design and use your intuition to see if there is anything dubious going on! It is not always possible to photograph a design so that you can see every aspect of a garment, but be rightly suspicious if it appears that the soft focus and artsy shots are hiding something nasty!

Remember that designs and patterns are written for many different reasons: deadlines and space restrictions can lead to compromises and let errors slip through; however, with a little forethought, you can look after yourself magnificently.

The End



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