Monday, June 19, 2017

Chunky Can Be Beautiful

I take after my father and his family -- an entire line of people built like a box: short and square.  I've fought my weight (and shape) most of my life.  When I was a pre-teen in the early 'sixties, They (yes, Them; the Ubiquitous They) came up with the idea of 'half-sizes' for children who"chunky".  While the clothes (dresses especially) fit well and made the wearers look pretty good, they were labelled "chubby" sizes, which made the wearers feel decidedly not good!

Maybe that was the idea...or maybe it was the crush I had on a certain guy in Grade Seven. Whatever the impetus, non-athletic, bookish me worked hard and lost weight, so I could fit into "normal" clothing.  It worked.

And yes, I dated the guy least for a while.  But that's another story!

Today, if you Google "chunky fashion for girls" you'll still find references to "chubby girls".  A slight improvement is one reference to "curvy girls" but then there's this one from that font of visual interest, Pinterest: "25+ Ideas About Thick Girls' Outfits" (Thick!  Aaargh!)

If you check for images of 'chunky pre-teens' online you get lovely photos of pretty youngsters who -- for the most part -- look healthy, decidedly not 'chunky', 'chubby', or 'thick' (and blessedly not very 'curvy' either!)

Female fashion aside, there are "chunky" things in the world that are absolutely chunky chocolate bars...

chunky chocolate chip cookies...

chunky chocolate ice cream...

And other treats guaranteed to, well...make you "chunky".  


The loveliest "chunky" thing of all, though, is "chunky" yarn which, like 'us gals', can range in size from 'true' or 'slightly' chunky to 'bulky'...but we won't go there!

Let's focus instead on the fibre of said yarn, which can range from squishy acrylics to woollens and this week's Special Sale Offering: an alpaca-wool blend.
It's perfect for quickly-knit hats, cowls, scarves and shawls.  It will make up into a cozy cushion cover or an even cozier sweater -- with decent stitch definition, too!  And...given that it's made by our friends at Berocco, it has excellent pattern support.  What's not to like...especially at this week's Special Sale Price!

50% Peruvian Wool, 50% Superfine Alpaca
131 yards/120 metres per 100 grams

Regular Price: $14.25
Sale Price: $3.56

Written by Margaret, happy Crafty Lady employee who's learning to love all that is 'chunky'.  :-)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Life is a Cabaret . . .

As Lisa Minnelli sang "Life is a Cabaret" - Life does not work according to plan. Recent weather cancelled plans for many, such as washed out bridges causing long delays and detours. I especially sympathize for those who have changed their plans and now have "bored" children under foot. When I was growing up, we went out and played in the rain, came into a fire and a warm drink (read hot chocolate), thinking we were so lucky. In the summers. we were in a cabin, with no heat, insulation and the plumbing was the outhouse. My mother did not complain about the wet clothes or boots, as she had quiet/productive time while we were all out.

Dress code for playing in the rain: shorts, jacket and rubber boots with hand knit socks. Our feet were warm and dry. Our legs dried more quickly than slacks or jeans AND easier to wash. children are not made of sugar - they do not melt in the rain.

One of the really special joys of working at The Crafty Lady - we get some very interesting questions. We can not always have "the" perfect answer, we do have fun assisting, or pointing people in a different direction. Life is a cabaret - you often do not know how your day is going to go.
Summer knitting can be a challenge if you are not comfortable with working on the afghan or bulky-weight sweater. Lighter weight yarns can be easier and more fun. Summer projects can be smaller and more portable. You can take your knitting to the beach, out in the boat or camping. Weekend projects can create escape time for you.

This week's special is smc Cabare, a cotton polyester blend. You can create a number of different looks using this yarn. Life is a Cabare - and what a special at 75% off!


by SMC Select
Bulky: 78% Cotton, 22% Polyester

Image result for smc cabare image

Regular Price: $10.00
Sale Price: $2.50

Posted by Anne Homenuk (happy employee who is thoroughly enjoying her new position, as there is almost no stress).

Monday, June 5, 2017

And I'm Off...

I know, I know, you're thinking "she keeps saying she's leaving, when is she actually leaving?"

Well, as I write this on Friday, today is my last day and then I will be unemployed. Which means I will be looking for work somewhere in Nanaimo (hey, if anyone knows someone who needs a sparkling and talented employee...) Otherwise, I guess if you're going to end up homeless, then the island is a good place to be. I can always hang out behind restaurants fighting the rats for food. Wait. If I have to fight rats then they can have it. Right now I live in a lovely character home, but in a few months it could be a cardboard box. So let's hope that it doesn't  come to that, because me and my books and yarn won't fit.

Taking my place at the store will be the lovely Anne who is also a writer.

Turns out Lori hired a staff of writers without realizing it. She thought she was getting a staff of crafters. Boy, did we fool her.

Anne and Margaret (who is also a writer) will be taking over my blogging duties. They already had a practice run when I was gone for two weeks.

It has been great working here. By far my favorite job and I'm sad that I need to leave. But on to other adventures.

I have met some wonderful people and have made friends that I plan on hanging onto for as long as possible - at least until they tell me to leave them alone.

I've accumulated more yarn than I will ever need and one day when I have recovered from yarn stupor I will be wondering what I was thinking.

And I've written enough blogs that I can use them in my future books about my imaginary mall on Vancouver Island.

But just because I will no longer be writing this blog, doesn't mean I will no longer be writing. If you google me, you will find me. I have my own blogs as well as books on Amazon.

So I say goodbye to all you loyal customers and reassure everyone that I have not fallen off the ends of the earth, I have just gone to the end of Canada and will continue to share my wit and wisdom with the world.

Okay, quit rolling your eyes and groaning.

Here's the sale.

75% OFF

Sirdar Wool Rich Aran
60% Wool, 40% Acrylic
100 g/190 m/208 y aran (4)

Regular Price: $11.00
Sale Price: $2.75

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (who will no longer be an employee but still happy at my little desk that looks out on a view of the ocean while I write).

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes...

That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word. That and when my parents gave me a kaleidoscope. I found it fascinating and I couldn't figure out how all those pieces of color stayed in their place when I put it up to my eye and turned it.

Now I know "they do it with mirrors", but if you look up the word in Wikipedia there's a huge, long complicated explanation that defines this simple children's toy. I don't have a scientific bent so that long explanation just bored and overwhelmed me. I'm quite content with "they do it with mirrors".

Sometimes when our customers look at patterns they do what they've always been told when it comes to instructions. They read the entire thing.

Generally it's good advice - but not in crocheting and knitting patterns.

Sure take a glance and make sure you know if you have to do several things at once. But mostly I say "don't read the patterns in advance."

All those symbols, even when you know what they are, can be confusing when you don't have your work in front of you. A simple pattern that dazzled you with it's colors and patterns becomes this big long intimidating list of instructions that cause feelings of doubt, confusion, and ineptitude.

Yarn work is supposed to be fun. It's not fun when it scares you. Okay, being scared can be fun, but that's for roller coasters, horror movies and first dates - not for knitwear. Don't let the explanations take away from the beautiful kaleidoscope of pattern and color. Just put your work in front of you and go step by step through the process.

It's like life. Sure you can plan things out to a certain extent - but you're not going to understand the meanings and language of every situation. You have your work in front of you and you go step by step through the process. There's lots of "I don't knows" and glitches and "I can't do this" in the process, but if you look too far ahead and all you see are boulders too big to move, walls too high to climb,  and chasms too big to cross, you feel overwhelmed and defeated and you won't even begin, which means you miss out on the great kaleidoscopes of life.

Believe me, I know. I just took a houseful of  over thirty years and the leftovers of seven kids and my propensity to collect things, and sifted through it all for my move. Looking at the whole process was intimidating and overwhelming until I broke it down into pieces. "I just have to do this little bit today" I told myself. "Just this and nothing else until tomorrow."

I had bright moments of kaleidoscopic patterns through the process. Cherished memories in old furniture. "I forgot about that" mementos. A trip to the coast to claim a character home with stained glass windows and an ivy covered pear tree. An evening with my newly adult youngest daughter and a stack of beloved picture books. A surprise party and going away gifts from friends. Serendipitous blessings that moved the waters like Moses dividing the Sea.

There is still work to do. There's still a job to find. I have to settle in, unpack, and discover new friends and new places. This week will be crazy and busy as I juggle several balls (by the way, I can actually juggle). I hate cleaning but will have to clean an entire house before letting it go. I don't know how this is all going to work out.

But you don't have to understand how a kaleidoscope works to enjoy its beautiful patterns and colors. All you really have to do is put it up to your eye and turn it.

75% OFF

Euro Baby Kaleidoscope
100% Acrylic
200 g/203 y/186 m Chunky(5)

Regular Price: $14.00
Sale Price: $3.50

Hayfield Colour Rich Chunky
100% Acrylic
200 g/355 y/325 m Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $18.00
Sale Price: $4.50

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who is still here with kaleidoscope eyes).

Monday, May 22, 2017

Signs of the Times

I'm back from Nanaimo. My new house is old, full of character, and almost as cute as my latest grandchild. I have a pear tree, and there's an ocean view from my study window. I found an antique desk that I've placed in front of the window so I can write and look at the view. People wave as they walk by.

Seriously, I am not making this up.

Back here in Lacombe it's Trash to Treasure week. You put things you don't want on your front lawn, people go shopping for free and the following week the city comes along, loads up whatever is left and takes it to the dump.

The timing couldn't have been better for me as I have to be out of my house at the end of the month.

So we put all the furniture that my kids didn't claim, on the front lawn.

And I made a lovely sign. First off I apologized to the residents of Lacombe for the embarrassment of riches on display. I explained that after 30 plus years and 7 kids I was running away and starting a new life as an empty nester and that is why it looks like my house threw up on the front lawn. I said that I had wanted to arrange things like a show room but then it rained on everything and no one wanted to help me, however they now get to dig for treasure and that everything was free. I also put in a stipulation that if anyone used anything to make rockets to the moon or flying dragons that I would not be held responsible for the consequences.

Then I taped the sign to the sectional at the front of the treasures.

My daughter saw the sign, shook her head in mortification and said "you can't get a writer to make a sign." So she made another sign saying "Everything is free." She also added onto her sign an apology for my sign with an arrow pointing to my sign and she taped it next to my sign.

The following morning, we came out of our house to find the cushions on the sectional gone but the sectional still there.

And both signs were gone.

I am not making this up.

Somebody stole the signs. I didn't think to stipulate that the signs were not free. I also didn't take a picture.

I'm thinking now of spending another buck twenty five for poster board, and making a sign asking for the return of my signs. The reward would be anything on my front lawn.

Except for the signs.

This week the sale is on alpaca. Alpacas, like llamas are little camels without humps. It's hard to tell a llama and an alpaca apart except that alpacas are littler and they are bred solely for their fiber, unlike camels and llamas which are expected to work for a living.

So while llamas are toting barges and lifting bales, alpacas get to watch TV and eat chocolate.

Llamas make their own signs for Trash to Treasure week; alpacas just steal other people's signs.

I say we draw straws to see which one of us is the first to ask
one of them to dance.


Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport
100% Baby Alpaca
100 g/100 m Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $18.00
Sale Price: $4.50

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who's back for a couple of weeks, cleaning house and making signs.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Delightful, It's Delicious...

I could be talking about the weather this morning...sunny, not too hot, wisps of white cloud wafting over a blue sky...

I could be talking about the glorious annuals in purples, pinks and whites I bought at the nursery yesterday to put out in my garden today...

I could be talking about the sweet treats I enjoyed at my daughter's over the Mother's Day weekend...

But I'm not.


I'm referring instead to the yarn we have on offer this week.

It's a delightful 100% cotton, plied yarn just perfect for that sweet summer tank top, or a wee bonnet for a new baby.  It could become anklets or pedi-socks to complement your new summer footwear, or a smashing flapper hat to shield you from the sun.  Prefer to knit accessories for the home?  This yarn is just right for crafting a selection of washcloths and bath mitts, or mug rugs or picnic table place mats...

And the colour range is delicious in a variety of pastel tints.

Yes, it's delightful, it's delicious, it's....


75% Off Sale!

Egyptian Cotton DK
by Sublime Yarns

100% Fine Egyptian Cotton

105 meters (115 yards)
per 50-gram ball
Original price: $7.00

One week special: $1.75

Written by Margaret, happy Crafty Lady employee who's rejoicing over this delightful, delicious, de-lovely weather!  (With apologies to Cole Porter.)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Are you ready for a new project?

How does one move from Haute Couture (see the blog Anna wrote last week) to planning for May long weekend, family gatherings, cleaning the trailer or summer cabin?  What project(s) will you take with you? You will have time to knit around the bonfire, so you don't have to eat all of the marshmallows the young ones burn. You will have time when the offspring are in the water and you want to sit on the beach, while keeping them in sight. You will have time when the weather turns rainy, or you just don't want to wash another window while standing on the old, not so reliable ladder.

When planning summer projects, remember the loved ones whose birthday comes in the summer, they too appreciate the work you put into your projects and love a new sweater, afghan or tank top.

Can you put away the heavy project that is hard to work on, carry around - and you just need a break from it . . . so you can start something seasonal, light and fun?

The Crafty Lady (aka Lori) has been bringing in some wonderful bamboo and acrylic yarns in wonderful colours. She also has a wide assortment of colours in 100% cotton - ideal for tank tops, light sweaters, baby outfits or shrugs - for those chill evenings we are still getting. Socks are year round favorites as they are portable, quick to pick up or put down - and result in unique and very trendy footwear. Do you want to challenge yourself and knit a pair of socks for each grandchild/child returning to school in the fall? Or do you want a project you can work on in pieces?

As Albertans, we KNOW the weather is going to change! Lighter weight sweaters, shawls and caplets are a joy to create in this weather. This week's feature is a blend of natural and synthetic fibers, light weight and warm - without being heavy

75%  Off Sale


Remix by Berroco 

100% recycled fibers: 
30% nylon,
27% cotton 
24% acrylic
10% silk and
9% linen
200 m/100 gram ball

Original price $ 14.30
One Week Special $3.58