Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 32
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March, 2010

Kauni blanket
Knitting with Kauni - adding colour to the winter
Dear Knitfriends,

So many ideas ...
Mille_feuille shawl in progress I've been knitting as one possessed: just can't stop the new ideas from leaping onto the needles! In the works we have a Double-knit mitten, the Mille-Feuille Shawl and Scarf, and an 'Entrelac revisited' blanket. The Pinstripe DK sock pattern is now finished and available.
I really don't want to be distracted from completing my final review of the finishing book by writing new patterns, but I can't seem to help myself. I have to have something to keep my knitting fingers busy (especially with all the trips to the local ski hill, which give me several bonus knitting hours each weekend).
It's reassuring to know that the urge to create hasn't been lost, but just gets buried under all the trotting to and fro to workshops.
Nosing the Grindstone ...

In order to make progress on "Cool Knitters Finish in Style", I enter into self-imposed purdah each morning (until after midday) to make additions and revisions. Very soon I will be spending long days on the phone with Lynda Gemmell of Cabin Fever, who acts as my coach, mentor and graphic stylist! I really enjoy working with Lynda; she's got a great sense of humour (utterly indispensable in this line of work), urges me on when the going gets tough, and won't let me wimp out. As an aside: I do find it rather ironic that I'm working with her on this FINISHING book, when one of the underlying tenets of Cabin Fever designs is minimal finishing and seamless garments!
"Cool Knitters Finish in Style" is a very personal small book about my approach to finishing. Much knitting is pretty unattractive whilst in progress (its adolescent period), but the adoption of a determined attitude towards your stitches and judicious employment of a few simple finishing tricks, spread over a period of days (rather than the finish-or-bust approach), usually bring about a stellar transformation.

I am slowly going Kuku ...

At long last and with great relief, we joyously announce that last year's DVD filming, production and manufacturing are now officially over: the Dolly Mama's DVD, KuKu Dolls - Knit 'em, Felt 'em is now available ($29).
This DVD is as comprehensively indexed as my other DVDs, but organized a little differently from my customary topic-by-topic-per-technique style, in that it covers the knitting, construction, trimming and felting of a doll in chronological order from toes to topknot. It assumes no prior knitting experience, and, coupled with one of the many Dolly Mama's doll kits, would make a diverting project oriented learn-to-knit experience for a budding knitter, young or old. Instant gratification guaranteed.
The Dolly Mama's are a social entrepreneurship who donate a portion of their profits to a variety of women's and children's charities. It helps that their family of multicultural dolls are adorable. For loads more details about this project, please see my blog.

KuKu Dolls - Knit 'em, Felt 'em
Yukon view Go North, dear knitter, go North!

Intrepid knitters, mark your calendars now...
The Adventure Knitting gang is heading for the Yukon July 31 - August 7, 2011. It's a wonderful time of year up there, still warm(ish) and reasonably bug-free (didn't see a single bug last time I visited in August). The precise knitting topic is yet to be determined: this is a good time to send me your vote!

Our camp location will be just outside Whitehorse, at the Inn on the Lake, pending final confirmation, which by pure coincidence I happen to have stayed at before and totally loved the experience. It's very quiet, luxurious, with lots of great food; it feels more like you're staying in a private home than an inn. If you haven't ever been north or visited the Yukon, you don't know what you are missing!

Tales from Tancook

There have been wonderful developments on the Tancook Island front. In our truly grim late-winter weather, David-the-Multi-Talented has proceded with some of the indoor jobs that have been on my wish list.

The biggest transformation has been the addition of some French doors between the sewing room and the front sitting room. The sewing room was a west-facing, cul-de-sac room, lovely but isolated and with no sea view. Now however, it has wonderful light and, tah dah!, a view across the bay! These same french doors have also unexpectedly turned the long thin front room into an L-shaped space with even better light than before, and given us choice of two routes to get to the stairs. A total revolution. If this were not enough, the large hole in the floor (which apparently used to house a furnace grate) is now fixed with sound floor boards and matching hardwood planks: in the great never-throw-anything-away habit of island dwellers (where would you throw it?), someone happened to keep a few matching boards that have been waiting for the last 70 years for this opportunity.

The bathroom, too, has been revolutionized with a toilet that doesn't flush your feet, and a new floor. I have a few more items on my wishlist, but they may have to wait for next winter.
It's now time for me to get the sander and the varnish brush out again! Physical work is such a great Yang to the book-and-pattern writing Yin.

Tancook upgrade Tancook upgrade Tancook upgrade Tancook upgrade

Also, for those that don't read my blog, Tancook Island's wonderful school has been given a unanimous vote to be kept open for many more years by the school board. If you wanted your child to be exclusively schooled (5 children currently) in a secure environment up to Grade 5, this is the place! Their Christmas concert was a delight. I had no idea that 5 small children could perform so magnificently!

I'd give my hotel room for a home!

I have been absolutely savoring every moment I have had at home since December: this is the longest home-time I've had for the last ten years. I'm liking this new style of life so much that I will be drastically slashing the amount of time I spend on the road teaching workshops in the future. Although I love teaching and meeting so many fascinating knitters and good friends, traveling has become such a chore. Living out of a suitcase is more about existence than living, and I am awakening to the fact that this life is not a practice run, it is in fact all we get. It's deeply pleasant to be able to request a book from the library, and still to be around to read it when it comes in. Of course, I'm currently starting to sweat again about the renewal of my US visa.

I've been making the most of this grace period to accelerate my work on knitty overhauls: I'm still re-drawing and re-charting old-format patterns, and we've now hit the magic number of 50+ patterns converted and available on Patternfish. The new-format patterns will eventually be downloadable from our new web site which Corrie is working away on, still. It's a huge undertaking for a part-time web mistress, as we have so many patterns and kits that all require new files, new photos, new write-ups, and so on.

Picture perfect

We have made another quantum leap: I feel that, at last, I have found the answer to our photographic dilemmas. As you may or may not have observed, many of our product pictures are unremarkable, some might even say ugly. I hasten to add that this quality pertains only to the pictures, not the lovely products.
And the answer is: Hillary on Tancook Island!

Photography has always been a huge challenge for me from the earliest days; it's simply not something that I enjoy (I even have a sister who is a pro, but unfortunately it didn't rub off on me). This is, however, the only way to showcase my knitted designs, hence the Problem.
Over the years I have tried various different photographers, none of whom clicked (!?) with me, but I mostly resorted to DIY attempts. Also, we have been uncomfortably straddling the film/digital divide. Take a look at the only photo of the Emperor's New Scarf that I possess: It was beautiful photo, with the delicious Stephanie, and taken when I briefly imported my talented sister from the UK, but even having the negatives expensively scanned, this is all we are left with!

Gallop, gallop, here comes Hillary to the rescue. Why did it take me so long to think of it? I guess the blindingly obvious sometimes isn't as obvious as all that. Hillary is a rare woman with talents in so many directions, that it staggers me more every time I think of her. I'm trying to persuade her to start an island blog, as she writes like an angel and has a library of sublime pictures of the island. Very gradually, Hillary and I are going to work our way through reshooting many of the old pictures and, with luck, we will be able to secure Stephanie's modeling services once again this summer. Do take a look at some of the work Hillary has done thus far. Believe me, whittling down my favorites from her discs of photographic offerings is emotionally exhausting.

Better get back to work on the book now ...
Keep your stitches smiling,

P.S. There are some local "Lucy" workshops coming up in the Maritimes (a few workshop spaces remain in each):

KnitCo! Knitting guild in Bedford, NS, Sat March 20th 2010, Short rows and Intro into Double knitting. Contact Sue.

Cricket Cove in Moncton, NB, Sun May 2nd 2010, Toe-Up socks. Contact Donna.

Product News

Pinstripe Double-knit Socks by Lucy Neatby (#389) (Available as a PDF from Patternfish)

Pinstripe Double-knit Socks Psst! All Sock Lovers:
Double your pleasure! Here is a decadently sumptuous double-layer reversible sock. A straightforward design, precisely written as always (with hopes of seducing you into the naughty pleasures of double-layer knitting). Use this sock as a starting point for more exotically patterned DK socks in your knitting future.

Size: Five sizes: Ankle sizes 8 inches - 10 inches.
Yarn: Fingering weight yarn in two colours, 100g of each.
Techniques: Two-colour double layer knitting and paired decreases.
Skill level: Advanced
Pattern: $9.00
Kit: Kit A: $79.00. Includes pattern, 100g each Cat's Pajama's Solid (Black, Bitter Chocolate or Navy) and Cat's Pajama's handpaint of your choice.
Kit B: $89.00. Includes pattern, 100g each Cat's Pajama's Solid (Black, Bitter Chocolate or Navy) and 2 x 50g Curious Creek 50/50 Wool/Silk. Limited quantities of this one available soon.
Lucy Doll Kit

Lucy Doll Kit

Get the pattern and all the yarn you need to make a Lucy doll, complete with Happy Stitch tattoo, great earrings, and technicolour hair. You may, should the need arise and you can find no other outlet, use her to stick pins in. Or, make her for a discerning knitting friend: then watch your friend dissolve in giggles. This is a doll of many uses and many charms.

Kit: $39.00

Knitting Tip

Anatomy of a double-layered sock

Consider the advantages of a completely double-knit sock design:

In addition to their smoochy comfort, these socks,from a designer's perspective, are no longer constrained by the need to have only short float lengths. Short float lengths are normally very desirable, especially in socks, for several reasons: the longer they are the more the elasticity of the sock is reduced, and the floats catch on your toes. In a negative/positive DK sock there is not one single float of yarn anywhere! Patterning is just for fun and to tie the two layers together (so that the sock doesn't disembowel itself when you remove it).

There is no structural need to have a rib at the top, as the two fabrics balance one another and the sock top is wonderfully elastic, since it has the stitches for both layers along the edge.

You could use a tubular cast-on, but that is tricky in the round (and could be rather tight). I rather like to use the long-tail cast-on as it is strong, super-elastic in this situation and looks perfect.

Happy, Happy stitches!


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