Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 25
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February 2009

Nova Scotia ocean view
Nova Scotia ocean view
Hello, friends!

Wasabi peas and videos?
I've just staggered in from film editing; it was a looooong daaaaay. I've spent the day getting a first look at the footage shot for our Brand New Knitter DVD and I'm delighted with it. It's certainly comprehensive (OK,that is a masterful understatement)! For me, editing is rendered doubly grueling because I cannot knit even the simplest thing whilst sitting there: editing requires my total undivided attention, allowing me to do nothing other than listen and watch. From a dietary perspective, I am very glad that this editing period is over in a month or so, as it seems to require frequent nibbling to maintain a high level of concentration (my current snack of choice being wasabi peas - they provide that instant little POW, WAKE UP to the sinuses, among other things).

It is slightly surreal watching the video footage and listening to the commentary for the first time. As each new clip came up for review, I found myself anxiously hoping that I had remembered to say this, make that point and reference the other. Much to my delight, I seemed to have covered everything I was hoping for.
So why would this come as such a big surprise to me? Surely I was there at the filming?
I was debating this with Susan, and her comment was that when I'm being filmed it's rather like an out-of-body experience. I think she must be right: each section requires total focus and as soon as it is completed my mind deletes the details.

let there be food ...

This is our fourth year of filming (and lunching) with the same fine crew, and everything went well: this is always a bit amazing, as there are so many people working in parallel that there is potential for many a slip-up. Among our team members are my wonderful assistants Karen (and this year: Lisa from the Dolly Mamas *) whose roles are not exactly glamourous. They have to sit still or crawl around in the dark, thread swatches onto needles, hand scissors and yarns to me and, most importantly, they listen and review what I have said. I find it very reassuring that someone else is there to listen to the content, since my lack of recall sometimes leaves me wondering if what I just said was even coherent! Thank you both!
More photos

Filming the Brand New Knitter DVD was extraordinarily demanding. It's a great responsibility: here I am, potentially shaping a new knitter's outlook on this craft, and it has to done with great care. I must try to assume nothing.
Today though, I came to the realisation that it is also a great privilege to be able to launch new knitters. With luck, I have managed to convey both the mechanics of knitting and something of the adventurous mindset that will make for a liberated and confident knitter. Only your future feedback will let me know!

Our other two new titles, Knitting Venus 1 and Knitting Venus 2 are aimed at the dedicated and enquiring knitter with a thirst for yet greater skills. Their Chapters and topics were inspired by the Venus Rising Cardigan. Yet again I have managed to wildly exceed my expectations of one two-hour disc: they are both well over that in length, with Venus 2 pushing three hours. Once I get going on the subject of knitting, it's as hard to stop me as to keep a Sheltie from barking.
For a complete list of the chapters and topics and a pre-publication special offer, see below.

Back for October 2009: Nova Scotia Adventure Knitting Camp
In the face of persistent popular demand, this autumn we shall be going back to beautiful White Point Beach, located right on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, for our third biannual knitting camp. This location is quite delightful regardless of the weather. October is usually beautiful here, but the rougher the ocean, the louder the surf. Bookings are now open and space is strictly limited.
This year we will offer a miniature Venus Rising Cardigan workshop (enough great techniques to fill several beach buckets) as well as our established pattern of local trips and activities to let you savour the delights of Nova Scotia.
As newsletter suscribers you are getting first dibs on this one, so contact Judy now for more details if you would like a spot.
Kathleen, our stock manager

Many of you have been making enquiries about Kathleen's health; this past year she has been challenged by metastatic cancer and has recently had to leave her job with us, but she has lived every day as joyously as possible. However, she has hit a rough patch and is confined to bed now; even so, she still manages to savour the positive of every moment: she is an inspiration! The knitting clan, her NK (non-knitting) friends, as well as her relatives have gathered the wagons in a circle and we're all doing our best to support Kathleen and her children. If anyone would like to send personal greetings or cards to Kathleen, we would be delighted to convey them to her. Please send them to me at 45 Dorothea Drive, Dartmouth, NS, B2W 5X4, Canada. (Please do not send suggestions for cures or medications; rest assured that we have explored all avenues.)

I'm heading back out on the road soon: I hope to see many of you at Madrona or Stitches West!
May your stitches always smile!


* I have just filmed a DVD for Lisa from the Dolly Mamas on how to knit, felt and embellish a KuKu doll such as "Lucy". The Dolly Mamas DVD is also included in the Spun Yarn DVD promotion. Its "working" title is Knitting and Felting Your Kuku Doll. It contains all the information needed to knit your very own Kuku doll including the embellishments.

News about our website:

Our website has moved to a new server: you may have noticed some glitches in accessibility, even though these moves are generally advertised as seamless. We seem to have our email and our site working again, a great relief to all.

If you wrote to us during the transition period of February 1st and 2nd, and are still waiting for a reply from here, please resend your message; we are told that some emails must have evaporated into oblivion upon finding no home to go to.
Please update your addressbooks with our new contact addresses:

Venus Rising Cardigan

Venus Rising, photo by Ilga Leja At last, she has been knit and tested many times, and is well and truly risen: an interesting yet essentially straightforward sideways knit cardigan. Worked using Kauni yarn triple from a single ball (although you may substitute another chunky weight yarn such as a Noro), the entire cardigan is worked in one piece with minimal finishing required.

Available as a downloadable .pdf from Patternfish or as a hard copy pattern from us.

NOTE: If you purchased a Beta version of Venus Rising, we now have the final version (with beautiful pictures) ready . We will send this to all who purchased the Beta version; if you have not received yours by February 20th, please call us at 866 272-7796 or or e-mail

More photos
Venus Rising back insert

Sizes 38" (42", 46") are given, but all dimensions may easily be adjusted to suit as you go.

Pattern: $12.00 cdn

Venus Rising Kits: Prices (includes pattern) until April 1st 2009: (After April 1st there will be a slight increase in the price of Kauni yarn)
Small (Approximately 640g) $82.40 (after Apr. 1: $88.80)
Medium (Approximately 700g) $89.00 (after Apr. 1: $96.00)
Large (Approximately 760g) $95.60 (after Apr. 1: ($103.20)

Comment from a customer: "... a first picture of my Venus Rising cardigan - it fits really well. It was fun and very quick to make. Colours come from the only Kauni yarn that I had at hand, and I love it; thank you so much for the pattern. I shall wear it to knitting on Wednesday. Such an infinitely variable pattern for sizing."

Kauni Yarn News

We have added a new colour, Kauni EF, to our range!
(Please note: April 1st 2009 there will be slight increase in the price of Kauni yarn due to shipping and exchange issues.)
Kauni EF

DVD pre-release special offer!

(From the number of email inquiries, I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting the new DVDs!)

Toll-free Order Line 1 (866) 272-7796

Buy the new DVDs now (and help me pay some of the production costs!) at $27.00 per NEW DVD title, PLUS we give you free shipping* and pay taxes (if applicable). (Pre-paid orders only, valid ONLY until the DVDs become available.)
*(Half-price shipping is offered to countries other than the US or Canada for this promotion).

If you would like to add any of our thirteen currently available titles to your order, they will be at the regular price of $29 + applicable taxes (Canada only), but free shipping*, as outlined above, will apply. (All discs will be shipped together as soon as the new ones arrive at the studio.)

Introducing the new DVDs:

As an introduction to the Dolly Mamas designs, their DVD (done by Lucy) on knitting, felting and embellishing their KuKu dolls may also be ordered from us at $27.00 Cdn during this DVD pre-release offer.

Knitting Venus 1 = 978-0-9782898-7-4 (#14)

A multitude of high-tech (but easy to learn) tips and techniques for the enquiring knitter. Chapters include: Navaho-style yarn use (create a continuous triple strand from a single ball and discover how this may be used for colour blending or colour clarity), a generous assortment of useful knots for knitters, a variety of decreases (and their private side equivalent manoeuvres), how to handle alternatively mounted stitches, slick uses of marker yarn (including a no-bulk seam), a slew of sleeve tricks, and short-rows in the round.
See detailed index.

Knitting Venus 2 = 978-0-9782898-8-1 (#15)

The eclectic mix of skills for the dedicated knitter continues with: a multitude of uses for waste yarn to hold stitches and create openings in your knit fabric, a close look at scallop openings and the delightful fabrics that can be created with them, a comparison of a variety of double-start cast-on methods and their various strengths, along with an overview of the Venus Rising cardigan and its knitting architecture.
See detailed index.

The Brand New Knitter = 978-0-9782898-6-7 (#16)

A comprehensive guide for the never-held-needles-before knitter-to-be. Begin with the Basic Manoeuvres using both right and left hands, then learn further skills as you grow in confidence. These include: increases, decreases and joining yarns. Included is a full exposé of the strange things that sometimes happen to new knitter's stitches, and how avoid or fix these issues. You will also find an introduction to knitting terms and abbreviations, how to read a pattern, even cables and knitting in the round. Patterns are included to launch your on your creative journey!
See detailed index.

Currently available DVDs (13 of them!!):

Knitting Essentials 1 & 2
Sock Techniques 1 & 2
Knitting Gems 1, 2, 3, & 4
Finesse Your Knitting 1 & 2
Double Knitting Delight
Intarsia Untangled 1 & 2

Knitting Tip:
Yarn Substitution

Yarn substitution is much more possible than we have been lead to believe. Yarn manufacturers use knitting patterns as an inexpensive vehicle to aid yarn sales (the underlying reason for the existence many of the free patterns). To this end, it is not in their best interest to encourage yarn substitutions, as they need to sell yarn and have invested in the design. Thus the information given tends to either discourage substitution 'We will not guarantee your results if you do not use Fluffykins' (Did they guarantee them anyway?), or the information is discreetly tucked away in the Gauge paragraph.

If your yarn is creating stitches of the same size and shape as those used in the design, then you have a potential substitute yarn. Caution: Always consider the properties of the yarn before making a swap. A heavily cabled sweater that looks lovely in wool may weigh a ton in cotton and potentially grow hugely sideways and down. Consider the fiber mix and washability of your new yarn in comparison to the suggested yarn.

The quick and dirty comparison method prior to swatching, is to take the end of each yarn and fold them double, linking them together like a pair of 'u's. Then close your eyes and run your fingers over the double stand of A, over the link and along the double strand of B and see if you feel any significant difference in thickness.

Alternatively try a McMorran yarn balance: this is a simple balance scale for measuring 1/10th of a gram of yarn (or fraction of an ounce), thus allowing you to calculate the metreage or yardage of any yarn

To estimate yarn quantities, I like to work from something tangible such as the weight of a 4" square swatch (that is 16 square inches of fabric).
With a little ingenuity it is easy estimate the number of square inches of fabric a 20" wide by 18" long sweater will use, but don't forget the sleeves and to double the total number for the second side.
Multiply the number of square inches by the grams per square inch calculated from your swatch, and you now have an excellent estimate of the weight of yarn your sweater will use.

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45 Dorothea Drive, Dartmouth, NS, B2W 5X4, Canada
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