Monday, October 16, 2017

I be crazy ? ?

Do you occasionally feel like you are slightly out of step with the world, or maybe it is just those around you? Then something happens and you feel totally validated!!

This can be a feeling of huge relief and reduces the stress we all carry around. I now believe stress is not an over-used word, nor is it a state of mind many people believe it is in their best interest to admit to. Do you occasionally feel you look like this  . . .
Our Crafty Lady Greeter
I am currently reading a book on how the brain can heal itself. Some of the studies deal with mental health issues such as dyslexia, depression, autism and others deal with things like Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimer's or accidents. The researchers describe helping professional opera singers heal after surgery destroyed their voices and their ability to heal (according to conventional medicine). Ground breaking research . . . as the brain is our most misunderstood organ - these researchers are giving us hope and understanding!

So what does any of this have to do with crafting? Knitting, crochet and other hand/mind skills have been proven to help us deal with stress, recover from brain injuries, stay mentally healthy longer and keep whatever function of our brain we have working more effectively. Plus you get something constructive at the end of your project (in addition to a carefully curated collection of yarn or fibre).

Again, so what does any of this have to do with the season? Autumn is the time many of us preserve the produce from our garden, farmers and their families are busy in the fields - a very creative time of the year. People are starting to plan their Halloween costumes for young and old and planning Christmas gifts!

Are you arm-knitting a cowl or something for a special someone? Check out this week's special - it is a really great deal!

Who are you planning Halloween costumes for? This week's 75% Off would make incredible dreadlocks for a costume . . . Where does your imagination take you?

Reg. $25.00
75% OFF

Posted by Anne, saner than I was and happy knitter

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Have You Any Wool?

More times than I can remember, when we in The Shop ask our customers, "Can we help you?", the answer is "I'm just here for some wool."

But that's not always the case.

Rather, they're usually 'here for some yarn'.  It's just that our customers are in the habit of referring to all yarn as "wool" -- because once upon a time, it pretty much was all wool, all the time.

Nowadays, we're doing our best to change their terminology -- mainly by showing them actual wool in the weight they said they were looking for.  If they want other yarn -- say, cotton or acrylic, or alpaca, or silk or a blend -- this startles them, and they let us know pretty quickly!  😊

"Heeland Coos"
(Highland Cows)
I'm just back from Scotland, touring castles, lochs, and crofts (among other things)...and revelling in the hilly countryside dotted with "coos" and sheep.  Over there, they are very particular about yarn terminology!  Wool is wool, and that's all there is to it!  It comes from sheep, and everything else is...well...just..."yarn".

Another notion about wool that's common with customers is that it is always scratchy.

I'll grant that some folks have a true allergy to wool (sometimes, sadly, to all animal fibre).  Handling it in any way makes their hands tingle, their fingers itch, and some even break out in a rash if they try a wool garment next to their skin.

Sheep grazing - on the road between
Edinburgh and Inverness
And it's true that the wool from some sheep breeds is 'scratchier' than that from others.  This is due in large part to the composition of the fibre: its diameter (in microns), its staple length and its crimp structure.

As author and yarn expert, Clara Parkes, writes in The Knitter's Book of Yarn (2008), "The finer the diameter of a fibre, the softer it feels against your skin." (p.14).  And..."A general rule of thumb...The shorter the fibers, the softer they will be against the skin." (p. 15).  As for 'crimp' -- the fibres with tinier crimp tend to be the ones that are bouncier, loftier and warmer (think hats, blankets, sweaters), while those with larger 'ringlets' (as Clara calls them) produce a denser, stronger, more lustrous yarn (think 'drape' for shawls, throws and elegant garments).

What does all that mean?  Simply that no two types of wool are alike -- and barring a true allergy to it, there's generally a wool available to suit your purpose!

This week's Special Sale offering is wool -- 100% wool.  It's labelled as "roving", which means it's not really spun.  Though it's a 'single' (ply), it's still strong enough to be knit or crocheted -- and there are some projects on Ravelry that show off beautiful stitch definition when knit up.  A 'woolly wool', it's ideal for jackets, hats, and outdoor sweaters not worn next to the skin.

It's not been treated for machine washing though, so it's better served in items meant to be hand-washed or felted.  That means it's ideal for felted slippers or tote bags that will be comfy and sturdy at the same time.

And the price is right!

Diamond Select
Pure Wool Roving

100% Wool
100 grams per skein
137 metres (150 yards)
Regular Price: $7.00

75% Off!
Sale Price: $1.75

Posted by Margaret, TCL employee, who's happy to help you find the right wool -- or yarn -- whatever your project!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Lacombe Celebration

When was the last time you saw a horse drawn wagon or a horse drawn stage coach on Main Street Lacombe?

For many people Saturday was a first. As part of the Lacombe Culture and Harvest Festival DB Bobcat were sponsoring free rides around historic downtown Lacombe - complete with tour guide.

Lots of people out completing the scavenger hunt and judging the scarecrows. No, not the people on the street - scarecrows.

Many businesses set up interesting displays in front of their place of business featuring one or more scarecrows. These were a long way from the scarecrow my grandmother used to put in her garden. Those featured my grandfather's old black trousers and white shirt with a couple of tin cans tied to the arms to scare the birds. I don't think this worked well. I believe my grandmother's yelling and waving the broom was far more effective. She even intimidated my grandfather when she was upset.

The gatherings around the Thanksgiving Table were wonderful - including extended family, neighbours and people who had no family. The meals took several days between shopping, prepping and cooking. They had a huge gas stove, complete with two cooking ovens, a warming oven and the shelf over the top to warm plates and keep spoons out of little fingers. Thanksgiving to me always starts at the beginning of harvest - as the farmers take off their crops and pray for good weather.

Did you see The Crafty Lady's post late last week with all the new colours? New cotton colours, new acrylic colours and new variegated yarns which are going to make some interesting items.

Take a look at the video,  come in to touch and feel. While you are browsing this week's 75% Off Sale is :

Boston                           Boston Mix
Reg. $5.50                                                                   Reg. $13.00
75% Off                                          75% Off
$1.35                                  $3.25                           

Posted by Anne, happy crafter (P.S. Love the new colours and yarns - come in and check them out)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Time to kilt

The weather this week is predicted to be much better - sunnier, warmer and drier than last week when we officially moved from summer to fall/autumn. The colours of the trees are incredible - and Banff has been recording record numbers of tourists to visit the Larch trees in southern Alberta. These trees are related to the Tamarack - which grows locally. They are one of the hardest woods growing in this part of the world. They were prized for furniture by early settlers. They are a deciduous conifer. Tamarack were logged off most of the area in the early 1920's and 1930's. Their colours are incredible and well worth taking a walk/drive to see.
I am lucky enough to live where I can walk along the edge of a lake, with all the wonderful colours - the reds, yellows and greens. The mosquitoes have gone into hibernation, so the weeds start blooming - really! How wrong is that?

Let's hope the farmers can get their crops off over the next couple of weeks. I love the look of combines working in the fields - and bales ready for pick-up.

When working with yarn or other fibre it is a real gift to be able to work with incredible colours. At The Crafty Lady, we have a saying - "Please touch, feel, drool - but keep the drool on the floor". We believe you will not finish a project if you do not enjoy the feel of the yarn.

Autumn is a transition time between summer and winter. It is a time to plan and celebrate special events with family and friends - a coffee on the deck, a picnic in the park, a "happy hour" on the patio or a walk in the woods. Celebrate the colours and the incredible beauty of the country we are privileged to live in.

As I have been thinking about this week's 75% Off Sale, I did a little bit of research on the colours of kilts - and not wanting to spread rumours, would like to refer you to an excellent website for additional info: There are a lot of misconceptions on the colours, and history of a kilt which surprised me, being of Scottish and Irish backgrounds.


by Katia 
46% Virgin Wool, 46% Acrylic, 8% polyamid
50 gram balls - 71 yards
Reg. $12.00 
75% Off

Posted by Anne, who owns and wears a kilt, happy knitter at The Crafty Lady

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fall is in the air . . .

I am a barefoot or sandal person. I wear closed shoes when it is too cold/wet - ONLY. This past week there have been a number of pictures of snow in Alberta on The Weather Network and Facebook.

One day last fall when I was taking my dogs for a walk, it started to rain. My son looked at me very skeptically and said "Setting a good example for the grandchildren? Why are you walking in flip flops in the rain." I just shrugged. It might have been better if I had gone back at that point and put on something else. When I got home about an hour later, it was snowing and I was very cold. Note: I did have a warm coat on. I had to go out to the garage for the box of shoes and boots.

Trying to be wiser this year, I have already asked my husband to bring in the boxes of boots and shoes.

Yesterday my husband added to the sense of changing seasons, when he mentioned there are less than 100 days to Christmas. Are these positive ways to add stress to a person who wants to make a number of gifts for loved ones this fall? I know I am an optimist when I consistently estimate the amount of time required to make most things. Adding insult to injury, I come to work and watch Lori create things in a couple of days  . . .  and the things she creates are beautiful. It often takes her longer to write the pattern for her creations than to create the item.

Back to the weather, the forecast for next week says flip-flops may be wearable, maybe not. There was frost on the windshields Saturday morning. So I wore sandals!

The leaves are turning colours, the sun is setting earlier - we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Indian Summer. Is it just me or do we get the best sunsets in the fall? Yesterday, we were out visiting friends, and I noticed there are a number of fields with bales sitting in them ready for pick-up. This to me is one of the iconic fall scenes in Alberta.

So all that being said, last week's special of Comfort and Carefree was a great deal. This week's special is Ice - not the slippery, fall down and break something ice, but a beautiful Ice yarn named Tweed.

30% Wool 70% Acrylic 50 gm 
Reg. $4.00
75% Off

Submitted by Anne, a person who loves the fall - it is one of the most beautiful seasons

Monday, September 11, 2017

Comfy and Carefree

What's your knitting or crochet style?

Do you stress out, tense up and clutch your hook or needles in a death grip?

Or are you laid back, relaxed, comfortable and carefree about your chosen yarn-craft?

There are crafters who turn knitting into a full-body workout by using their entire arm to bring the yarn around the needles, and there are those who control it briskly with the tip of a forefinger.

There are some who are left-handed, some who are right-handed, and some who are ambidextrous.

There are knitters whose habits find them unintentionally twisting stitches, giving their work an interesting texture.

There are some who want instant gratification from their craft, so they work with large hooks or needles and bulky yarn, and some who knit fine lace and socks simply to take as long as possible to savour the process.
Whatever your yarn-crafting habits, we know you all love to squeeze, fondle and work with yarn: wool, alpaca, silk, cotton, linen, acrylic, solitary fibres or blends, solid, variegated or self-striping...It's all good!

And now that cooler, shorter days are upon us, it's time to get into cozy, comfy, carefree projects.  We'd like to help you do that with this week's Super Special...Two yarns that aren't too bulky -- but aren't too thin, are soft to handle but sturdy to wear.  Comfy and carefree!

Diamond Yarn's
SELECT Comfort Chunky
40% Superwash Wool
40% Acrylic
20% Alpaca
50 metres (55 yards) per 50 grams

Regular Price: $4.50

Sale Price: $1.13
75% Off!

Diamond Yarn's
SELECT Carefree Chunky
70% Acrylic
30% Wool
55 metres (60 yards) per 50 grams

Regular Price: $4.50
75% Off!
Sale Price: $1.13

Thursday, September 7, 2017

While the Cat's Away...

It's Show Time!  CreativFestival is back in the West again this year, and September 8 and 9 you can visit Lori, Anne and Lori's mom, Muriel, at The Crafty Lady booth in Sherwood Park's Millennium Place. 

There's a whole raft of fantastic demos and classes for those who sew, quilt, weave, spin, hook rugs, embroider, felt -- and knit!  Yes -- in the Edmonton venue only, our Lori has returned to teaching this year, focusing on fun techniques in small projects that are portable and quick-to-finish, including short rows and entrelac.  See the Festival brochure's pages 17 and 18 for full descriptions of her classes, which run both Friday and Saturday!

But wait?!  Who's minding the store?!

Margaret's been left there all alone...and it's her birthday...

Not just any birthday, either -- a MILESTONE birthday!

What's a yarn-lovin', sock-knittin' gal to do, left all alone to mind the store?
Alone on her Big Birthday?

Have a Birthday Sale, of course!

Friday and Saturday ONLY -- Sept. 8 & 9...

Can't make it to the Show up north? 
Want to start your Holiday knitting with something fine and fancy for socks, gloves, mittens, shawls?

Come to the shop, give Margaret a Birthday Hug and pick up a skein of

Diamond Yarn's
Soxy Lady

60% Wool
20% Alpaca
20% Nylon
400 metres (437 yards)
per 100 gram skein

Regular Price: $18.00
25% OFF!
Sale Price: $13.50

September 8 and 9!
There's a wide variety of colours,
but when it's gone, it's gone!