Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 26
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May 2009

Beautiful downtown Tancook
Beautiful downtown Tancook
Dear friends,
Wow, it's the end of April, and no newsletter since the end of February!

In Kansas ... once again ---
It's been another whirlwind start to the year, or should I say tornado? I'm in Kansas City Airport for the fourth time in the last 10 days, and I have to say that it is a splendid airport: friendly and polite security staff and hassle-free gratis internet.
WELL, it's a very good job that KS is a pleasant airport, because I'm going to be here for a long while: they just cancelled my flight to Dallas, due to bad weather in Dallas (and it isn't too pretty here, either). On the upside, at least I have internet access; I'll get some work done and you will have your newsletter.

Not in Kansas anymore ...
I've been hither and yon this spring, and made a jackpot find whilst yon.
I was in Portland (OR) teaching for Knit Purl (a real serious knitter's store, which also carries a range of Oliana ready-made knitwear). Although I totally love hand-knits, the fine yarns and double-knit construction of these ready-to-wear machine-knit pieces set them in a class of their own. I'm also intrigued on a technical level by their double-knit construction: some of it does not appear to be replicable in hand-knitting.
Portland proved to be a delightful city with interesting independent stores, including a monster bookstore and, to my utter delight, a dedicated Doc Marten shoe store. I have always been partial to Docs as comfy footwear, and, since I discovered the fun patterned children's Docs, I wear mismatched Docs frequently. Now imagine my chortles of joy at seeing the array of rainbow coloured Docs in the window! The patent leather ones really caught my magpie eye.

I felt obliged to go in a take a closer look (the slippery slope begins) and went within. The colours were sensational, but even I had to concede that they were a little bright. However, they did have a very wonderful pink and a stunning turquoise amongst the range. Feeling somewhat overburdened by my existing luggage already (it contained ski gear along with all my teaching supplies and clothes for a month on the road), I decided to sleep on the decision. Besides, having to buy two pairs so I won't have to wear a matching pair makes a new shoe purchase somewhat extravagant. I was trying to be good, really.

Not surprisingly, at the end of the workshop the next day I hot-footed it right back to the store and made my purchase. I decided to wear the boots back to my hotel and found them rather unnerving: even to me they were bright (see pics below)! I was very aware of my feet the whole way back and I think passers-by crossed to the other side. The hotel staff did let me in, however.

California dreamin' ...
Quicksilver Park, CA
The next stop saw me in CA for Stitches West and the judging of the XRX sock competition. Luckily for me I have a a good friend who lives conveniently close to Santa Clara and is happy to act as my roadie whilst I'm there, so I was able to spend my free day with her. We went for a hike in the very hilly Quicksilver Park (where mercury used to be mined many years ago).
Knittin' Boots, for shure!
After a little healthy exercise, I turned my attention to the boots: with the aid of some permanent markers I went to town to make the boots fit for a knitter. That was fun! They now feature many happy stitches, also stitches happily linked to one another in balanced joins, and, of course, the wonderful Australian Cousins. These boots were made for knitting (queue Nancy Sinatra's song)! They are no longer quite so scarily bright and I now feel quite at home in them.
Such stitch detail!

First night blues.
Those of you who follow my newsletters closely may have detected a subtle subtext dating back to my first visit to Tancook Island (mentioned in Spun Yarn 23). The rather surprising upshot of my first visit there was that I fell head over heels in love with the island. Within a matter of weeks after this, I "just happened" to find a little empty cottage on the far tip of the island. I mortgaged my soul and the purchase went through in December 2008. The cottage was shut down for the winter freeze-up; I paid a couple of chilly day-visits but couldn't do anything about settling in until after the spring thaw. (Although I did spend one satisfying day removing old net curtains and de-gnoming! There were a remarkable number of gnomes and their ilk lurking about.)

My schedule since has been so demanding that not until the Easter weekend did I finally manage to get out to the island to spend my first nights, YES! Things are fairly basic on Tancook: there is only a foot ferry, and no shops on the island. I had to hope that I'd be able to find the breakers and start the furnace and water pump.

After a few failed attempts, we eventually found the appropriate power breaker and the water pump sprang willingly to life: success! There was lovely brown water spouting from the kitchen tap, followed very shortly by a most interesting water feature cascading through the ceiling of the dining room!
Do I have enough for overnight? Ceiling redecorating Bring more buckets!
Is this enough stuff
for two days?
Let's redo the ceiling ... More buckets, please!

With the aid of many friends and even more buckets and bowls, we caught the water, remodeled the ceiling and found the problem. That was the first of the evening's many adventures, but, contrary to expectations, the evening turned into a very merry house-warming. Dinner was magically produced by friends; we discovered that the minute kitchen table had an extending leaf to seat eight (in a close and friendly manner), and there were more empty beer bottles in the morning than we had brought to the island full. Every visit to Tancook has had its special moments, and all of them have been due to the lovely people that I have met there. I can hardly wait to get out there again.
More photos ...

Kathleen, who used to look after our yarn inventory, continues to amaze us. She has now moved to the palliative care unit in a Halifax hospital, as she has permanently lost the use of her legs due to one of her spinal tumours. She is being wonderfully cared for (the staff are extraordinary) and has a lovely view from her room, as well as a plentiful supply of visitors. Kathleen is still living to the full: she savors every good moment and gives hope and strength to us all with her warm smile and wise counsel. May her life go gently.

Happy travels to you all, wherever you may go. The next edition of this newsletter will likely be full of giant tortoises, blue footed boobies and other delights; the Adventure Knitters are off to the Galapagos at the end of May.

Note: We do still have a couple of spots for the Nova Scotia knit-and-play camp in October.

May you and your stitches be contented,
WEBS in Northampton, MA, was the unlikely scene of a love match: here Ernest met Bessie. Here is the photographic record of the romantic moment. (Some of you may know that my purse is a chicken named Ernest. He is product of Senitt Toys and Puppets in Carnarvon ON, Canada. In searching for a web link to Senitt for you I was unsuccessful, in fact I'm not sure if they are still making the bags (I know that they had to discontinue their wholesale side). But I did come across this lovely quote from another website, and I suppose it is quite true:
"The carrying of these outrageous bags is not for the timid, the conservative, or even the very sensible. Ohhh, yeah!"
Pixie Benoit of WEBS is introducing the happy couple.
Love among chickens

I have been persuaded by some pushy friends to start a blog; I'm amazed how different it is from writing the newsletter! You can find it at

DVD progress: We are really, really close! Many thanks to all those who have placed pre-orders; we greatly appreciate your support. We hope to be able to ship by mid-June.
The final stages of editing always take longer than we can possibly envision, but we don't want to skimp at the last moment, perfectionists that we are. All three new titles are of magnificent length (see Running Times next to the titles): all required double-density discs to hold all the data! (Once I get going on a subject, it's hard to stop me. Have you noticed?)

New Patterns

The Tancook Hat by Lucy Neatby

Tancook Hat The first Tancook Hat was made for Harley (on the island) as a token of my appreciation for his help (his had a plain brim)! This top-down hat is quick (5 hours-ish) and fun, using Kauni yarn triple (Navaho style) which is described in the pattern. There are two warm brim options, plain or with decorative scallop holes. The whole hat may be worked on one long circular needle, on two circulars or on a set of dpns according to your preference.
Soon available as a downloadable .pdf from Patternfish, or as a .pdf or printed pattern from us now.

Size: Adult but easily adjustable for children or those with generous heads.
Skill Level: Easy with Intermediate options.
Price: $6.00 Cdn (hard copy or .pdf available).
Tancook hat

More photos
(Tech support page available on the website later today.)

Summer in the City 2009
A new collection by Ilga Leja

In the Courtyard vest Portside Tunic In the Garden Summer
From left to right:

In the Courtyard: You will be comfortably, but elegantly, dressed in this lacy vest with its intriguing pattern of double yarn overs.Make yours cropped or long. Then wear it over a summer T-shirt or a graceful, long-sleeved blouse for an evening out.

Portside: While you wait for the ferry or as you stroll along the waterfront, you will want to wear this long tunic vest for its colour and zest.

In the Garden: This feminine, circular capelet, in two lengths, worked in a decorative lacy stitch, is all you need when you take a leisurely stroll through the garden.

Summer in the City:This gentle poncho, in two lengths, is perfect for those cooler days when all you want is a light, but elegant, cover-up.

More details on this collection ...

Last call for the DVD pre-release special offer!

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.)

The new DVDs:

Knitting Venus 1 = 978-0-9782898-7-4 (#14)
(Run time: 2 hours 18 min)

Knitting Venus 1 cover 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)
(Run time: 3 hours 5 min)

Knitting Venus 2 cover 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)
(Run time: 3 hours 13 min)

Cover: Brand New Knitter 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 dissertation on the strange things that sometimes happen to a 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

From Ugly to Beautiful!

I frequently stress that knitting has to go through a pimply adolescence before it becomes a thing of beauty.
The pictures below show the top of the new Tancook Hat. The hat is started provisionally (either with a provisional crochet cast-on or by casting on regularly in a contrasting colour yarn).(see first picture)

The actual hat is started by leaving an eight inch tail of the working yarn dangling before you commence the first plain knit round of eight stitches in the working yarn. Once the hat is completed, it is then time to return to the beginning and to remove the cast-on edge. When the edge is removed, you release seven Australian Cousins (the stitch-like loops found upside down and in between the original-direction stitches). (second picture)

The first AC has the tail of yarn already threaded through it, so it is simply a matter of threading the available yarn tail through the other seven loops in turn, neatening them, and gathering the hole closed before taking the yarn tail around for a second time.

Gorgeous finish! (third picture)

You may wonder: why not just cast on regularly in working yarn? The finished result would not be nearly as pretty (see picture at far right).

pinhole bind-off pinhole bind-off pinhole bind-off regular cast-on

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All images and text Copyright ©2000 - 2010; Lucy Neatby, Tradewind Knitwear Designs