Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 30
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SPUN YARN #30

(much delayed by a strategically timed bout of H1N1 flu in our webmistress) November 30, 2009


White Point in October
Dear Knitfriends,

The DVDs: Done! Finally!

The DVDs are done, at last! This has been a challenging project, to say the least, made all the more frustrating by our complete reliance on other people. All we could do was to keep on gently nudging those folks and insisting that "this really wasn't good enough". But we are going to put all that behind us and move along. Maybe by this time next year we'll have overcome the stresses and strains of this and be planning to film again!
Thank you all for your amazing patience and support throughout. Thanks, too, to Susan, for whom this has generated an unbelievable amount of paperwork, such as double and triple shipping and record keeping in order to keep track of who has received which discs, what replacement discs, and all the appropriate paper work. Thankfully our past record-keeping experience has stood us in good stead for this. Whilst this maelstrom of paper was still swirling around our heads, along came this year's Adventure Knitting Camp to liven things up.

Knitting Camp 2009

Lucy with bunny

White Point Beach was a blast! Our Adventure Knitting camp for 2009 now is sadly nothing but a warm fuzzy memory. New friendships (with people and with fuzzy bunnies) were made, old ones renewed, and more Venus Rising Cardigan converts created. Judy and I (with able assistance from Susan and Ron) managed our usual diverse mixture of technical knitting, beautiful scenery (see White Point photo above), good food, local outings and unexpected happenings.

Our objective was to work on a miniature Venus Rising cardigan from one ball of Kauni. We used the Navaho triple strand method to create the working yarn, wrestled with loops and multiple circular needles, and, with the aid of lots of short-rows, created a knit-to-fit cardigan! Several were finished in the course of the week and looked wonderful.
In addition, Halifax-based designer Ilga Leja paid us a visit and gave us a wonderful talk and trunk show of her elegant and stylish designs.

Baby Venus cardigan Here are photos of my great-niece wearing her cousin's 6 -12 m size Baby Venus Cardigan. The baby version pattern should be available in a couple of months. Baby Venus cardigan

Our day trips, one of which was to historic Mahone Bay, included a bit of rug hooking at the Spruce Top Rug Hooking Studio and a daylight raid on Have a Yarn (I did warn them that we were going to descend upon them) where vigorous shopping ensued. Whilst in town I fell in love with a whale weather vane (now added to my some-day wish list)!

Scare-Crows in Mahone Bay

The town was looking very fine in the autumnal sunshine with many of its pumpkin festival people still on display. Having thoroughly explored Mahone Bay, we took a scenic route along one of the many breathtaking peninsulas and meandered our way (along one of my favorite bicycle routes) to the La Have bakery, which is not only a bakery of the highest calibre but operates from a charming, original, scarcely-touched-in-a-thousand-years old building where much-welcomed refreshments were obtained.
In order to reach the bakery, we were obliged to take the La Have cable ferry across the La-Have river. This is one of a number of such ferries around Nova Scotia: they can carry about 20 cars and foot passengers besides, and they pull themselves across the body of water with a cable that runs from one shore to the other and is drawn over some clever gadget beneath the ferry.

The Road Ahead ...

I have a teaching dilemma! I'm back on the road again next week. I'm terribly torn these days between my passion for teaching and a need to stay at home for a longish period. For example, the two weeks between White Point and this trip felt relaxed and tranquil and opened my eyes to all the more-than-half-finished projects, designs and books that I have around the place. I feel the need to sort, complete, tidy and gather my thoughts for quite a while.

Years back, I had planned to take a break from traveling in 2010, but the need to keep my US visa current and stay abreast of the number of teaching requests mean that I do have quite a few bookings. However, I do have three straight months at home coming up. I don't quite know how much I will be able to accomplish, but I'm really looking forward to it. Come next April, I'll probably be crawling up the walls!

We've been thinking quite a lot about the direction that the knitting world, and consequently our business, is taking. The internet is certainly shaping the method of delivery of products, most noticeably the move from paper patterns to downloadable .pdfs. The pattern market is hugely competitive, with many new designers and various suppliers. We've been very happy with our relationship with Patternfish: they are really reaching many customers and saving us a lot of work (by being able to instantly fulfill downloadable pattern orders) whilst Corrie (our wonderful web-mistress) continues to work away in every available moment padding out the bones of our forthcoming new website. It's a long slow job (hundreds and hundreds of files) but she's making progress every day (except when felled by the flu).
In turn, with my emphasis on teaching and technique, we now plan to introduce a series of Technique Sheets in the style of a knitting pattern (rather like the Magic Buttonhole sheet). There are so many techniques that a growing knitter needs without needing an entire workshop on a broader range of associated subjects, that I will be turning my attention to some of these in the near future. The first of the new subjects, now available, is the Sock Toe Chimney - Kitchener stitch mastered!

Speaking of socks ...
Before I wrap up, I thought you might like to see this creative use of the Fiesta Feet pattern as a Christmas stocking, thought up of by one of our wonderful customers. We used our Blue Faced Leicester Aran (Chunky weight) yarn and modified the heel to be a decorative 40% Garter Stitch Short-Row heel (rather than the better-fitting common heel in the Striped Quilting pattern used in the real sock).
This knits up really fast, and gives an excellent practice for the sideways sock top, which is much easier to graft when you can actually see the stitches, plus: you only need to knit one!!

The Fiesta stocking beside the regular sock

At long last, we do now have sets of Addi Clicks in stock, right now. $169.00 for a myriad of Addi Turbo needles. Treat yourself so you no longer have to carry your whole collection to have the exact needle you need! See details below.

I had better draw this to a close now before next year comes around. For anyone in the vicinity, I will be holding my annual pre-Christmas open house on the afternoon of December 5th. See the web site for precise details!


Lucy (My blog: happystitches.wordpress.com)

P.S. Ilga Leja has very kindly allowed us to adopt her wonderful expressive names for the various colourways of Kauni. They officially only have letters for recognition purposes but EQ will henceforth be known as Spectrum, which describes it so much better. Thanks again Ilga!
Little known fact: Ilga was the very first knitting friend and contact I made in Canada (17 + years ago). Before emigrating from Wales, I contacted the UK knitting guild to see if they had any members in Eastern Canada. The answer was no, but they told me about the newly formed Knitting Guild of Canada. Next I contacted them, and they too informed me that they (at that time) had no members in Nova Scotia but that they had a friend (Shirl the Purl) who had a friend that both knitted and lived in Halifax: Ilga! Ilga came to visit me when I was still homeless, trapped in a hotel, in March, with three small children. It's a wonder that she didn't run a mile!

P.P.S. Sue Hannah, my good friend and cherished right-hand person, will be running a Venus Rising Knitalong on Ravelry in the new year. Please e-mail us for more information or just check on Ravelry.


Product News

Knitting Venus 1, dvd cover Knitting Venus 2, dvd cover The Brand New Knitter, dvd cover

Knitting Venus 1, Knitting Venus 2, The Brand New Knitter

This year's three new DVDs are now available! These 2 - 3 hour discs (all divided into accessible indexed chapters and topics) are a bargain for the quantity and quality of the information contained on each disc.
We believe that you will find them well worth the wait: so many hours of vivid knitting action at your command!.
Venus 1 and Venus 2 are aimed at the intermediate to advanced knitter. For the detailed index for each, please see the DVD pages on the website.
$29.00 per DVD


Learn to Knit kit

Create a new knitter with Lucy's Learn to Knit Kit: This is the best possible launch for a new knitter of any age!
Lucy's Learn to Knit kit
Our newly minted canvas knitting bag contains everything the new knitter will need to embark on a long and passionate affair with yarn and knitting:
A pair of 6 mm (US#10) handmade River John birch needles,
one 250g skein of our strong and lustrous aran weight Blue Faced Leicester Yarn (375 m/ 410 yds)
and a copy of Lucy's brilliant Brand New Knitter DVD (over 3 hours of personal instruction).

The disc contains free printable scarf patterns for this yarn and needle combination. All the items in the kit have been prepared by small businesses in Nova Scotia.
Let us know if you wish a gift card included with this order.

Yarn: Choose one of our hand-painted aran colours. More yarn may be added at $39 per skein.
Kit price: $79.00 Cdn (An $18 dollar saving over the items purchased individually.)

The Sock Toe Chimney Technique Sheet

Learn the deepest secrets of grafting and conquer your sock toes (or any other stitch top to stitch top situation). A mini-workshop available to you any time you need it, wherever you may be.
Available as a loose pattern or downloadable .pdf file.
$6.00


Addi Click Interchangeable Circular Needle Set

The interchangeble needle system with the quality of Addi Turbos provides 10 pairs of different sized Addi Turbo needle tips (3.5mm (US 4) through 10mm (US 15)), three different lengths of extremely pliable blue cord (24 inch, 32 inch and 40 inch), and one connector piece to help store stitches or combine your cords.
The Addi Click tips require no tools to change; simply insert the cord deep into the tip, twist and release. The tips will remain secure until you change them.

The system delivers a level of flexibility not offered by other needle systems: by using more than one cord, you can create a needle from 60cm (24 inches) to 183cm (72 inches) in length!

The system comes with a convenient storage case with a place to keep all the components organized. Like regular Addi Turbo Circular Knitting Needles, the Addi-Click system has soft, pliable cords, snag-free joints, a lifetime guarantee, and nickel plated brass tips for knitting at "turbo" speed! These are by far the finest brand of needles on the market. $169.00 for the set.






Knitting Tip

Going in ever larger and ever smaller circles ...

I've always been a fan of circular needles, Addi Turbos and Addi Lace needles in particular. But of late I have been playing around with them more than ever, in particular with the Venus Rising Cardigan (which was partially inspired by a beautiful Asciano needle .
You really can do anything with a very long circular needle!
This idea was brought to prominence by Sarah Hauschka's Magic Loop Booklet by Fiber Trends, but there are a plethora of other ways to use these needles. One of my favorites is to use an over-long needle for the whole project.
For example: the Tancook Hat can be worked entirely on one needle. From starting out with the first 8 stitches and working the first round I-cord style (sliding the stitches back the 'wrong end' of the needle, and then working Round 2 and allowing the stitches to fold into two sides, followed by conventional Magic Loop with two ears and then, as the hat gets bigger, and there enough stitches to go right along the rigid part of the needle and back on the other side, it is possible to pull all the spare needle through at the back and make only one loop. Once this is established you only have to rearrange the needle once per round.

The secret to getting the maximum value from your circulars is to challenge yourself to find a way to make it work.
All you need to remember is:
The stitches you wish to work next need to be near the needle tip.
The working needle is created by pulling the other end of the needle out from the last stitch worked, and any excess flex can be pulled out at any point in the round (it doesn't have to half way around).

Try it and see! Have fun.

DID YOU KNOW:

Most previous issues of Spun Yarn are archived on the website; type in the website address (http://www.lucyneatby.com/) followed by the edition you wish to read: i.e. SY24.html or SY25.html, etc. (The html bit just tells the computer what kind of file it is.)



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Blog: http://happystitches.wordpress.com/