Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 7
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SPUN YARN #7

Summer, 2004

Welcome to the laid-back, summer-cruising edition of Spun Yarn news!

The "Captain" has roamed far, wide and high this spring: as far north as Whitehorse, in the Yukon Territory (approximately 61degrees N), as far south as St. Louis, MO (approximately 38degrees N), and vertical rise to the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago. Janesville WI, however, remains unrivalled in the biggest cow stakes - see Spun Yarn Gallery.

Whitehorse totally captivated me! This little city in Canada's Yukon Territory nestles by the side of the (at-the-time deeply frozen) Yukon river, surrounded on all sides by rugged snow-clad peaks. Whilst walking in the pristine white, crunchy snow in the woods, the intensity of the silence made my ears feel as if they were turning inside-out in their effort to track down any sound: even a squirrel sneezing sounded dramatic. During my stay, I was very generously offered, and eagerly accepted, the opportunity to go mushing. (To the uninitiated: this is dog-sledding, and has absolutely nothing to do with boiled potatoes.) I could scarcely believe the ecstatic excitement of the dogs' greeting when they saw a human with harnesses in her hand. Each dog climbed on top of its shelter, pointed its lips heavenwards and hooooowled....... Every dog was vying for a place on the team, desperate not to be left behind. As the dogs were fastened into formation, they performed pogo-stick-like vertical jumps in their anxiety to be off. The concept of waiting is not in their make-up. I joined the team after they had run headlong downhill following a narrow path between trees and we began a slightly more sedate circumnavigation of frozen Annie Lake. The dogs knew exactly what they were doing and where they were going, so when I was briefly handed the reins this didn't disconcert them one bit; they were fully in command.

Knittingwise, with all the coming and going, it's been a period of finishing up and adding details. A dear babe, Lily, has finally been found to pose for a photo of the Domino Bonnet. However, I now fully appreciate that Anne Geddes has certainly earned her reputation the hard way. Honestly, how do you get seven babies to dress up as carrots without a tear to be seen?

The up-side of all this concluding and completing is that I am now free to embark on a number of new knitting ideas over the summer, including, hopefully, getting my teeth into my next book. There is no planned schedule as yet, but one of the worst parts, that of thinking through the shape of the project, is almost done. Please don't put this on your wish list yet - we are probably at least two years from completion!

Canoeing seems to be the current activity theme amongst the Neatby crew: we have taken our first canoe-camping trip of the year at Kejimkujic National Park, our favourite national park in the Maritimes. Normally in May it is simply wonderful to be out and about once more, but handsomely paid for with the symphony of flies and anxious anticipation of ticks. (The virtual ticks are usually far more troublesome than the real ones!) This year however, there was scarcely a fly to be heard or seen through the rain and liquid fog; it was more reminiscent of a late autumn camping trip! Tentative plans are afoot to take white water canoe courses - I'm trying to tempt John into a hare-brained trip up north next summer...

Now for news of a couple of absent crew members: Sam has taken temporary shore leave to visit the UK for his entire summer break: he's returned to his beloved Bure Valley Railway for employment as a guard. If you happen to be taking a ride on this particular steam railway this summer, keep a lookout for him. (He can answer knitting questions if pressed, but is more forthcoming on the subject of steam engines!)
We do, regretfully, also have sad news to announce: the loss overboard of our newest crew member, Pirate the parakeet. Having learned so much about knitting and having made himself indispensable to the entire family, his zeal in devotedly following his people sadly led to him pursuing his Super-hero John out of the door, unbidden. He overshot his target and was swept over the rail by a gust of wind, vanishing from view. Despite immediate and extensive searching, postering and strategic placement of his cage and perch, no trace was ever found of our little green friend. He is very sadly missed by all.

At long last, after many years of contemplating, the outline details of the first Adventure Knitting trip with Lucy can now be revealed.....
The location has been set: White Point Beach in Nova Scotia, a relaxed hotel smack dab on an Atlantic beach; imagine going to sleep to the wonderful sound of ocean surf! The dates are Oct 16 - 22, 2005.
We have press-ganged the extremely able assistance of Judy Fawcett to take care of all the travel, logistical and culinary details: We are planning a day-trip to take in the flavour (literally) of coastal Nova Scotia and to visit the nearby communities of historic Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, with time to explore (and shop?), and, for the unstoppable, an optional demanding one-day guided hike. Yes, of course there will be knitting classes! And a few laughs, too.
For more on knitting in paradise, see theAdventure Knitting page.

Another exciting development is the introduction of our very first Tradewinds yarn - Celestial Merino! It's a delicious fingering-weight, 2-ply merino wool yarn, custom-dyed for us, right here in Nova Scotia. Initially we are offering six hand-dyed colourways: Blue Vesuvius, Fiery Fuchsia, Aquarius, Sugar Maple, Fiesta, and tropical Seashell. Price: $24.50 Cdn per 100g skein (320m / 350 yds). For more details and a sneak preview of what is in the works (the yarn may be ordered even today!!) see our web page. More will appear on the website soon, or I shall need to apply the cat-o-nine-tails to the webmaster!(Well, perhaps not, but it's such a lovely phrase.)

Other new products and patterns to amuse you:

'New-Born' Lamb Bag from Senitt: The perfect little shoulder bag for that perfect little knitting project. We have just discovered these babies; they are just a fraction smaller than the Lamb bags and unbearably sweet.
Vital Statistics: Nose to tip of tail - 19", Shoulder to hoof height - 14", Main body - 10"(zippered) x 8" deep.
Colours: 1) White 2) Light Grey 3) Camel 4) Dark Grey
Price: $72 Cdn

New pattern:Domino Baby Bonnet.
A quick gift for a newborn or toddler: a pleasure to knit, practical and comfortable, minimal finishing required. Ideal for using up small quantities of several colours of yarn.

Size: Newborn - toddler.
Yarn: Fingering weight washable wool in two colours.
Techniques: Domino squares, ribbon cord.
Skill level: Advanced.
Pattern price: $6 Cdn

New pattern: Raffia Vest
This vest was inspired by a variety of African raffia-cloth motifs, and is worked in the round with steeks. The lower border is fringed to represent the raw edges of raffia cloth, although the fringe is optional. The lower band may be made wider than the chest by adjusting the side panels of the charts.

Size: Finished chest 44" (48", 52"). Finished Hip 44" - 60" adjustable. Length from back of neck 23" (excluding fringe).
Yarn: Shelridge Farm Ultra Merino fingering weight in two colours.
Techniques: Stranded two-colour knitting, steeks, afterthought shoulders, unraveled fringe (optional).
Skill level: Advanced. Pattern price: $12 Cdn
Kit Price: Size 44"$112 Cdn, Size 48" $132 Cdn, Size 52" $162 Cdn. (Colours: Available in any Ultra Merino colours; pictured in Straw/Brown).

Mc Morran Yarn Balance:
Metric or Imperial available A hard-to-find, yet invaluable, tool for the handspinner or serious knitter-with-a-stash, with the aid of one of these elegant little balances, the yardage of any yarn can be calculated. Simply drape a modest length of the yarn in question over the balance, then snip the yarn gradually shorter until the arm balances. Measure the length of the remaining yarn and multiply by the given factor (enclosed with the balance).
Price: $ 31.00 Cdn.

Ball Winder:
With the aid of a ball winder even very small children can be persuaded to wind wool for you! This winder will make elegant, kind-to-your-yarn, center pull balls.
Price: $55 Cdn.


Knitting thought....

In knitting (as in life), balance is everything. Happy and, therefore, contented stitches can usually be found all across a row, all apart from the miserable ones at the edges. Please don't take this personally: these edge stitches really can't help looking grumpy and out of sorts. The stitches away from the selvages are each contentedly holding hands with a stitch on their right and another on their left, thus assuring them of almost perfect poise and appearance.

The ones on the edges, however, are not so fortunate: they have only one immediate neighbour and their other connected stitch is vertically above or below them, thus spoiling their karma and ruining their looks. Living on the edge is tough. Unless these edge stitches are always going to be on show (such as in a scarf) or are being deliberately slipped to facilitate easy connections (such as in some modular techniques), don't be at all concerned about their appearance. Simply plan to eliminate them entirely when seaming (by using a whole edge stitch from either side when Mattress Stitching), as the two gloomy stitches will be far happier together inside the seam, as they say misery loves company! If the edge is slated to remain visible, there are a variety of edge treatments possible. My usual method is to slip the first stitch of a row purlwise, with the yarn in front (towards the knitter) and take the yarn between the needles (if necessary) ready to work the next stitch.

Wishing you all superb summer weather, and time enough to enjoy doing whatever it is you love to do best (in addition to your knitting), I'll bid you adieu until the Fall...

Lucy Neatby,

PS.... I don't go in for movies much (they do insist on switching all the lights out - it makes it very difficult to see my knitting!), but if you are seeking a touch of nautical flavour, I highly recommend "Master and Commander".


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