Spun Yarn 51
Happy New Year's Stitches to you, a whole new year of knitterly possibilities awaits us! I am already preparing several new projects and can't wait to share them with you.
Hard at work
I'm teaching in Denver this week with Knit & Ski Steamboat and then staying on to film with Craftsy. I discovered this site last year and am delighted to join the ranks of those on-line teachers. Though I'm not yet at liberty to say what will be covered, suffice it to say that it is a subject near and dear to my heart.
John and I have organized a couple of days of skiing in between classes and filming. We've been to Steamboat Springs before and are looking forward to hitting the slopes!
I've spent a lot of time preparing for the Craftsy class over the last few months and am keen to start filming! Though that doesn't start until Feb 4th, I needed to get the class projects created, knit, written and tested before Christmas.
One of my first dilemmas was to find the right yarns for the job. Though I would have liked to have
used our Cat's Pajamas, or
Aran weight BFL,
they just aren't widely available enough, nor could we easily cope with a significant spike in demand.
After experimenting with some other yarns, I found myself thinking of Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts. She has the colour, yarns and the capability. Thankfully she was able to rise briefly from her sickbed and dispatch yarn from one coast to the other. It even arrived before the Christmas hiatus!
Since then I've knitted, written and had tested three small projects that will nicely illustrate the course. My immeasurable thanks to my friends/testing group that worked away on these over the December 'break'. I also fine tuned my lesson plan and started knitting the resultant swatches. Upon realizing the sheer quantity I will need, I hit upon the idea of convening a swatch party! I baked a batch of cookies and gathered together five of my friends. They did beautifully under my issuing of instructions, swatch labels and general coaching. The result was a heaving mass of little bits of knitting, all looking very similar to one another, each with two tails and many having yarn butterflies attached for ongoing knitting. Constructive chaos!
A few days before leaving for Denver, I faced up to the mess and rounded the swatches up into baggies, each labeled with the lesson and number, thus revealing every last one.
It feels SO much better now!
The Craftsy course will be available in March. We will send out a Newsletter announcement with a class code to link you straight to it.
Meanwhile in Dartmouth
John certainly outdid himself with the Christmas lights this year! Sam let us borrow Big Bertha, another one of his tractors and we decked her out with lights. This wasn't good enough for my husband, though, who wanted a little more interest for the neighbours and passers-by. So he hooked the lights up to his laptop and programmed the ones on the wheels to simulate them turning around. He then fashioned another mass of lights into cloud shapes exiting the funnel. These were timed to emit puffs of "smoke". It was a glorious display, and the little lit pig he'd tied to the roof added to the whimsical effect. Here is a video showing his masterwork. I have to admit, though, that he still isn't satisfied. In fact, he already has plans to refine the effects next year! I will keep you posted.
Do you remember the quilting project I was working
on late last year? Well, I finished it just in time for Christmas! I had such
fun making it and, in the end, decided to try my hand at free-motion quilting
I've already started the next one--this time featuring brighter colours (just the way I like them!) and am finding new ways to use up the resultant scraps.
Behind the Scenes
At Tradewinds we seem to be in a constant state of evolution. The last few years have seen our website grow into the sophisticated machine that it now is. We can archive your pattern purchases and keep them up to date, deliver my DVD series online and store them for you and I am now working on building a library of Tutorials to accompany the knitting patterns.
Our estimable web guru, Corrie, has been behind all of this. She set out to build a site and achieved it. The amount of work she has put in has been huge. Lately, she has been busy building us a second free Android app. This app goes beyond the basic pattern catalogue and allows you to check and adjust your Wishlist, view your patterns, DVDs and Tutorials and make purchases. For more information about the apps, please see below.
Another huge change around here is that our wonderful Susan is leaving the office. Susan and I are great friends and have worked together for the last 17 years. She has been invaluable to the smooth running of the office and the accounting behind the business. She and her family are moving to Victoria, British Columbia. We will miss her terribly, but thankfully she will continue to be involved behind the scenes and plans to run more knit alongs and on-line fun stuff. We aren't planning to let her go completely!
Thanks to our Customers
Thank you all for your enthusiastic support of the newly launched virtual DVDs. The top sellers during our December sale were Double Knitting Delight, Finesse Your Knitting 1 and 2 and Gems 2. We've gotten many positive reviews of the downloads and hopefully now that the holiday mayhem has subsided you will have a chance to try them out for yourself!
Thanks also to the good people at Vogue Knitting Magazine who, over the last few days, have inspired so many of you to knit a pair of Fiesta Feet socks. I can promise you that you will enjoy both knitting and wearing these beauties!
Wishing you all wonderful stitches in 2013,
Lucy's Patterns and Patterns Plus Android Apps
We have two new free offerings in the much-neglected android market! Both are designed to be usable on older android versions as well as all the newest ones.
The Lucy's Patterns
app was Corrie's first venture into android apps. It was meant to be simple, just like a paper pattern catalog. Put it on
your phone and take it with you to your LYS: patterns include yarn amounts and suggested needle sizes.
Her second venture, Patterns
Plus, is Patterns plus a whole lot more! It is now available in the Google Play store. This app is perfect for Lucy
Neatby registered users: easy access to all the fun places on the website, and all the pattern details still at your fingertips.
The app is a hit with our beta-testers. Here is one of several great comments we received:
"I just wanted to let you know that I have fully tested the app and I love it! I used a Samsung Galaxy S smart phone and an Acer Iconia android tablet. I used each of them at different times of the day and in several different locations several times each so that I could test it out under all circumstances. It worked like a dream! I didn't have any trouble with the downloads or the operation on either device. I tried out all of the functions and would recommend it to anyone! I'm happy to have had the opportunity to test this out and I know many knitters will love it!"We are always happy to read reviews of our products, please keep them coming! We are particularly keen to know what you think of the Patterns Plus App.
For those knitters amongst you who have older android devices with no built-in access to the Google Play store: You may be able to run the app on your device. Send us an email and we'll see what we can do to help.
The dear folks at
were kind enough to write this review about my book,
Cool Knitters Finish in Style:
"We bought Neatby's original "Taking the Chequered Flag" class ages ago, and then pounced on this book as soon as it was made available. It is just outstanding-- a landmark in its field. The author is both extraordinarily curious and very opinionated; both qualities benefit the knitter tremendously. Invaluable information and friendly, fiercely intelligent, witty prose."
This book is available in paper and pdf formats from the website.
With Christmas behind us, some are thinking ahead to the next
--what fun to knit a lovely scarf for someone dear to your heart! For the next seven days, my
Hugs and Kisses Scarf
will be half-price at $4.50 instead of the usual $9.00. The Hugs and Kisses
kit featuring our
will also be reduced in price, at $52.00 plus shipping and handling. This offer ends on February 7, 2013.
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