Lucy Neatby Designs Lucy Neatby Designs

Spun Yarn #40

September 2011 

Ribs and Pearls DK Scarf
Dear Knitters,

I've unconditionally surrendered to summer. Summer weather has more or less arrived (in late August!) and the plants are growing and blooming at last, but it is more the ebb and flow of visitors and the invasion of our CFA (come-from-away) children, that precludes normal concentrated pattern writing. So, I've decided to give in gracefully and concentrate on behind-the-scenes work.

A new office for us
The work began with modifications to the Tradewinds office (this in itself is a precursor to a future kitchen reno). The office was, in fact, once our dining room, but that was so long ago even my children don't remember it. The office doorway has now been moved from the kitchen to the hallway, and is larger than it used to be.
I'm delighted with it: this 4-foot round-the-corner relocation has made an amazing difference to all of us. The office is more open, yet secluded (shielded from kitchen chatter and noise) and I can now actually be off work, having family time, or bashing pots and pans around without disturbing Susan. This rebuild has, however, prevented us from just simply stuffing everything back where it used to be. The total eviction of EVERYTHING from the room revealed a fascinating collection of artifacts which promptly seemed to triple in the volume it used to occupy. (15+ years of careful cramming is hard to replicate!)

We decided to go for a whole new arrangement, something that would make the office more purely dedicated to packing, shipping and communications, and would improve the yarn/garments samples show-area downstairs. This meant that a lot of stuff that was downstairs needed to come up and vice versa, and even more needed be permanently evicted from the house. Luckily, Holly arrived home for a couple of months and made a very suitable addition to the workforce to implement this project. The fact that she isruthless and without mercy when it comes to clearing out detritus was an asset.
For more pictures, please visit my album on MobileMe Gallery.

How did all that fit into one small office??? Our new streamlined office Holly on 'search and evict' duty!

Purge, anyone?
The way we do business has changed hugely over the last few years: catalogues are obsolete (thank heavens) and the remaining ones lurking in our basement storage are now being hunted out and recycled. Credit-card transactions have become paperless and the piles of formerly important forms are no longer relevant. The multitude of duplicated paper back-up files and floppy discs (yes, dear reader: floppy discs!) for patterns and workshops are just more detritus: all those things are now digital and backed up in several places. These days we also use very little gold elastic for yarn labels, or double-sided tape for loose photographs in pattern production. These stocks, too, can go. It's a full-on PURGE.

So many of these things just quietly hid in obscure corners and on the backs of shelves, but still taking up valuable shelf space. Purging full-tilt is a little like washing mittens at the end of the winter: you dare not do it too soon for fear of a cold snap, so eventually it's August before they are washed and stowed away (and you wonder about not bothering, as mitten season is just around the corner again)! Filing cabinets have been pillaged and slimmed to useable proportions. The paper shredder has been running hot, as many past years of paper order-forms and very old tax documents have been shredded by the bag-full.

Ghosts of knitting past ...
Ghosts of knitting past However, the very worst things to deal with are the samples, swatches and UFOs resulting from many years of knitting, designing and DVD filming. These are hard to part with: there is so much invested in time and effort. Even sorting them was emotionally draining - many of them whisked me back to where I was at the time I knit them. Some rightfully withered on the needles (what was I thinking!!), while others were precursors to successfully completed designs. Yes, I know, I could put them all together into an exotic knitted quilt, but I just don't have the time or inclination right now.
"Everything must go!" is my current battle cry. Some of the larger swatches have been sent to swaddle pets at the veterinary clinic. Other items have been permanently sent home with unsuspecting knitters, for de-knitting and reconditioning. "You like pink yarn? Oh, have we got something for you!"

Even more challenging were the multitudes of completed designs: why exactly did I knit 14 different Origami bags? (Well, they were good gifts and quick fun, and I had so many colours to play with!) The bags, particularly, got very out of hand. I'm now slowly publishing the completed bag patterns, and, once photographed, the excess bags, too, need to go! There are also various one-off garments for which the pattern has been discontinued for yarn-unavailability or logistical reasons: we are looking for ways to sell off some of these.

Then there is my personal stash. This, surprisingly, is not nearly as challenging to be be ruthless with. I've been through case after case and been delighted by some of the treasures there and equally horrified by some other items. There has been a definite shift in my tastes, and I no longer feel the need to keep every inch of yarn I come across. Holly is planning on bagging up some of these treasures with a view to a yard-yarn-sale sometime.

The Clearance begins on you're invited!
In all this, there is good news for you: The Great Purge has unearthed a stunningly large number of items which will become fine bargains for our customers! As there are rather a lot of things, and they take a certain amount of time to process, we shall be adding new bargains regularly for the next few months (or weeks, if things sell incredibly quickly!). If you are interested in a great bargain, check back frequently. HINT: It is never too soon to plan for special gifts!

Please note: The Clearance section has a different shopping routine than the rest of, since all items are available in limited quantities.
To order from Clearance:

You get to Clearance in the Shop drop-down menu.
Hover over an item to get extra information about the item. Where the item (say, a damaged book) is also in our regular inventory, you can always go to it on the regular shopping pages for a more detailed description.

Use the Clearance list to tick off those items you would like to buy, at the bottom of the page add any notes you want our office-manager/shipper to take into account, and press the "Place Order" button. Items from Clearance cannot be placed in your Cart or Wishlist, as these items are no longer part of our regular inventory.

Things you might wish to include in your note to us:

1. Quantity desired, in case we might have several of this item. (Three balls of a particular yarn might be more useful than one ball!)
2. Possible substitution if we no longer have your first choice left.
3. If you wish this shipped as a gift: if so, please include an appropriate gift shipping address and a note that this is a gift.
4. Do you want to use an alternate payment method (i.e. not by PayPal invoice)? Let us know. It can be arranged.

How we will process your Order:

Orders will be processed in turn based on the time we receive the order (the good old 'first-come-first-served' model).
1. If we have any of the item(s) you ordered, they will be packaged for you, amounts totalled (tax added if applicable), and shipping and handling calculated.
2. You will be sent a PayPal invoice for the Total Amount; after we receive the PayPal notice of payment, the parcel will be shipped ASAP. (If you do not wish to use PayPal, and would like to pay by credit card, please note this in your message to us, and we can arrange to phone you for payment.)
3. If all the items on your list are already sold out, you will receive an email from us letting you know of this sad state of affairs.

More knitting help to come ...
Now that the office and storage systems are almost in working order again, I hope to get back to adding to our series of You Tube videos very soon and to get the missing sections of the website ready and opened. Once the puritanical cleansing is completed, I'm hoping it will leave me energized and stripped lean!

(In the midst of it all, I've had to get my teaching/traveling head on and leave Nova Scotia for the west and the north: Sock Summit and then Adventure Knitting in the Yukon!)

Happy stitches,

P.S. Both Sock Summit and Adventure Knitting were a blast! See my Flickr gallery for some of my Yukon pictures.

Product News

String of Pearls DK Scarf String of Pearls DK Scarf (#497) by Lucy Neatby

Impress your friends with this warm reversible scarf. The two sides are dramatically different to draw attention to your double-knitting prowess. There is also an option to spice things up with the addition of the 'pearls' as you progress. This scarf is the perfect opportunity to train your hands to double-knit comfortably. It takes a little while and this design is simple enough to allow you to give your full attention to making the stitches. The yarn will do the work and make it look as you were being really clever!

Yarn: 50g each solid and variegated in Fingering or Sport weight
Size: 4.5" x 32" adjustable
Skill Level: Intermediate
Techniques: Two-layer stocking stitch double-knitting, with option to add reverse stocking stitch patterning
Price: $7.00

Ashanti Wall-Hanging and Cushion Covers Ashanti Wall-Hanging and Cushion Covers (#739) Newly converted to digital format!

This blanket or wall-hanging was inspired by traditional Ashanti fabrics, pots, baskets and carvings. The knitting is copious but easy; the finishing stages, involving multiple steeks and mattress stitch, are more demanding. A cushion makes an ideal test swatch for the wall-hanging. This pattern features detailed written instructions, diagrams and 20 charted stitch patterns.

Yarn: Fingering weight
Size: 2'10" by 4'4" for the wall-hanging, 16 inches square for the cushion cover
Skill Level: Advanced
Techniques Used: Steeks and mattress stitch, two colours per round
Price: $ 12.00

Liberated Quiltmaking 2 Gwen Marston: Liberated Quiltmaking II

This is the quilting book I have been raving about for months! It took me quite a while, but I have managed to obtain a few copies of this wondrous book. This is NOT a book of quilt patterns, but more a delightful freeing philosophy and lots of inspiration: learn to work without using templates or set patterns! Probably the only quilt book you will ever need to own.
Price: $36.00

Patterns on tap

Digital Pattern Augmentation Service: something we could only have dreamed of 10 years ago!

PDF icon If you would like to have your past paper pattern purchases duplicated with the latest downloadable ".pdf" editions (of the same patterns), which will be placed in your "My Notebook" section of our website, please email us.
There will be a one-time $20 charge payable by Paypal or credit card, regardless of the number of patterns to be replaced. (Please do not send money at this time; we will contact you.)
Please note: only the patterns documented as direct sales in our records will be replaced.

All images and text Copyright © 2011; Lucy Neatby, Tradewind Knitwear Designs