Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Notes from the East Side

Like Irmi it seems that life has been kicking my butt as well and has prevented me from posting in a really really long time.

Since my last post it seems we've managed, yet again, to lose another podcast recording...I'm beginning to think this is the Fates telling us the Internet is just not ready for the two of us...at least not in audio form.

This weekend was the East Vancouver Culture Crawl (Nov 20th, 21st, and 22nd), a yearly event when artists from East Van open up their studios to Christmas shoppers and sell their various wares. http://www.eastsideculturecrawl.com/ I went a little wild buying stuff this year but you know...this only happens once a year so what the heck!

I bought a beautiful Gailan Ngan bowl: http://www.gailanngan.com/, a Jessie Turner ring: http://www.jessieturner.ca/, a Grace Lee necklace: http://www.eikcam.com/ and last but not least a Carny Love dress (which I got on sale...jealous!?!) http://www.carnylove.com/. Culture Crawl is great way to support local artists, so for those of you that missed Culture Crawl this year I highly recommend you attend next year. The only unfortunate part of the Crawl is the weather. This year ,we had deluge of biblical proportions on the Friday night and then all day Saturday, I guess it's the price you pay for having an outdoor event at the end of November in Vancouver.

Irmi and I thoroughly enjoyed our Culture Crawl experience, except for one of the vendors who started waxing poetically about knitting and how it was a dying art...ummm apparently someone doesn't have access to a computer or for that matter to Ravelry.

Well it's about 75 days, give or take, until the Olympics. I'm so sick of the Olympics that every time a commercial comes on I either turn off the TV or press the mute button. This does not bode well particularly since I still have another nauseating two and half months of 'Rah! Rah! Olympics!' to endure. Ugh!

So what's on my needles right now. I'm knitting up a scarf using Araucania Yarn 'Ranco Multy' and a pattern from Summer 2008 'Spin Off'. I'm also still working on shawl in Aegean blue Fleece Artist wool, I don't remember what the pattern is called, sorry folks. I also knitted another scarf from a pattern in my Estonia lace book using my own spinning wheel spun white Merino...it's been a very productive couple of months.

I took a Maiwa Symposium workshop on felting. So much fun! I learned about felting basics, 3D felting and Nuno felting. Maiwa always has the best workshops. A few years ago I took a natural dyes workshop and learned so much about the production of dye stuffs and the effect of commercial dyes on the environment. I highly recommend any of the Maiwa workshops but they can be very expensive and difficult to get into. If you want a specific workshop you need to sign up the first day as soon as registration opens. http://www.maiwa.com/symposium/index.html

Okay I think I've included enough for one post. I hope everyone has a great week and to my American friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Post at Long Last!

It's fall! It's Irmingaard!

Hello everyone, I think it's finally happened: fall has arrived! We are in single-digit temperatures, rain is predicted for Thursday (of course!) and very soon the leaves will have fallen off all the trees to compost in a wet, mushy lump. Reminds me of mashed potatoes. Don't ask.

And with the late arrival of fall, at long last I can wear all the knits I've been working on! A few sweaters, hats, fingerless gloves, a couple of stoles, and maybe one cowl that I'm planning to keep for myself. One went to a friend's daughter for her 19th birthday, and two will be gifted. There's no big plans for Christmas knits this year, just a few items for family and very close friends, but handmade is still my theme. Some mango chutney, perhaps a pineapple chutney, and a fabulous barbecue rub. All with ingredient lists in case of food sensitivities/allergies, and maybe the recipes, we'll see.

I'll be spending Christmas at the farm this year, and am watching the travel deals in the hopes of scoring a seat sale for even a few days over the holidays. I'm really looking forward to it; since my dad and stepmom moved out there I've pictured what the farm looks like in the winter and the photos Dad has sent have really been pretty. Just like a Christmas card. Hopefully my pictures will be just as nice as my first summer photos.

School and work are kicking my butt, kids. The thesis proposal needs a few more tweaks, the big marking rush is on, and I attended a conference a couple weekends ago. Prior to all of that, there were MASSIVE computer issues. Happily no hard drive crash - although it was backed up in several places on various media forms - but the motherboard is possibly faulty. Damn.

Luckily I had an older laptop to still work from and was able to upgrade it even! So with less than $300 and the generous help of a tech-savvy friend, it runs like brand new! But of course this means that the first podcast is horribly outdated, so it looks like it will be referred to as the "lost" podcast. Maybe we can play that up for a mysterious angle. We'll have to see what happens.

But thankfully aside from saving all the school prep and thesis, I finally got all my saved knitting, crochet, tatting, and embroidery patterns onto a CD-R! Trust me, after a few years there were hundreds on my hard drive! I think it was filled up with knitting and craft patterns, music, and photos. Seriously, there was no space to spare on the 186 available gigabytes!

So what's going on in my craft corner? Well, I bought yarn. Big surprise.
I really need another tote for storing all this yarn, but I'm putting that off, thinking that if I don't buy one I'll be able to keep it all contained in the three that I do have. Oh who am I kidding, it's already not contained in those three, which is why it's in my bedroom, the guest room, and stacked precariously on top of the other totes and even on top of my scanner/copier/fax. Happily there is no yarn being stored in my car. Pretty sure of that. Mostly sure.

So what did I buy? Well, 88 Stitches in Langley's Walnut Grove neighbourhood had a fall sale and some clearance prices, but while I couldn't make it out for the sale weekend I managed to pick up some still-sale-priced yarn afterwards. Some SRK On Your Toes Limited Edition that are being knit into the Esther sock pattern (available through Ravelry), some Kaffe Fasset Colourscapes yarn in a great red/magenta/pink colourway that will make a gorgeous thick cowl, and while perusing the wall-o-Malabrigo I chatted up another customer who has a great little Etsy shop called Black Mustard and she's a fabulous spinner, dyer, knitter, and she's local!

Then the Elann.com specials were emailed out and three of us were determined to make purchases, so we combined it all in one order shipped to my house. Can I just say that their shipping is the bomb? I put the order in on a Wednesday, and the box was at my house on Friday morning. So yarn prices are great, selection is great, you get credits for ordering books (which then become discounts on your next order), and to top it off they ship it to you FAST! Oh... what did I order? Ummm... a sweater's worth of Laines Du Nord Giunco in the "Pink Dusk" colourway; pink, light gray, and dark gray variegated, to knit the Rock Rose cardigan from the Laines Du Nord Simple Knits Book 1. Can't wait to wear it, but it's now taking a backseat to recently-purchased Christmas knitting.

Yes, I broke down and bought more yarn for Christmas knitting. Why? Because Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool was on sale for $9 a skein! So one skein of a marled wool will be two pairs of socks for my stepdad because he loves his wool boot socks, and they're so quick to knit up! And, well, LB's Wool-Ease Thick & Quick was also on sale for $6 a skein meant that I may get a quick hat done for my mom in exchange for letting me delay her Myrtle Leaf Lace-inspired scarf in Malabrigo Laceweight in "Velvet Grapes" colourway, as I found I need another skein to make it long enough. Oh darn. Oh, and two skeins of LB Wool-Ease Worsted because I signed up for the Woolly Wormhead hat KAL. To make both hats. No, I have no knitting for Christmas at all :)

And nevermind those four skeins of Happy Feet sock yarn I scored at $3.49US each from Discontinued Brand Name Yarn. I may have another pair of socks to make for my mom. Then there's the skein of yarn from Little Red Bicycle in the Supernova colourway that I just couldn't resist! The seller is a Ravelry chum and all-around good egg who just happens to dye awesomesauce yarns! I just hope my project I choose does her yarn justice!


There are events coming up in the Terminal City and its outer suburbs.

First and foremost is the Langley Weavers' and Spinners' Guild annual Show and Sale! This Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8 from 10am - 4pm at the Fort Langley Community Hall, 9167 Glover Road in Fort Langley. If you're going, get there early! Parking is at a premium! Emily and I are making the annual pilgrimage because our favourite yarn seller Barbara Braaten of Langley Yarns & Crafts wants to see what we're making with her yarn. We're afraid that if we don't show her satisfactorily finished projects that she'll either stop selling us yarn, or - more likely - make us buy the expensive stuff!

And if you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of local authors Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore's book Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, you're in luck! Leanne and Mandy will be at the 1051 Davie Street Book Warehouse location tonight, November 5th, from 7-9pm for a book signing and to encourage crafters to bring hooks and/or needles to create a "tag" (in the lingo) for the Davie Village Garden.

Well that's all for me, hopefully Emily will soon have details about the annual Culture Crawl throughout the Strathcona resident artists' studios, and we'll post about our fun to be had at the Weavers & Spinners show! Stay warm in the rain, break out the gloves, and pop on a great slouchy beret or a newsboy cap. It's time to wear the wool!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

At long last Emily posts

I'm a luddite when it comes to technology. I don't oppose technology as the term implies but I'm not one to run out and buy the newest thing that happens to come out on the market. To be honest I haven't owned a computer since my days as an undergraduate which was about ten years ago. As a graduate student I just used the computer labs at my department. I've been hesitant to add technology, in particular a personal computer and the internet, to my repertoire of daily activities. I guess my concern is I'll spend more time on the damn computer and less time knitting as well as studying.

Irmy's already got six posts on me...I think this will likely be the norm. Right now I'm still working on my Oregon themed scarf. I went to the annual Black Sheep Gathering in Portland, OR in June and had a wonderful time! This is the Pacific Northwest Mecca for knitters, spinners and weavers and I encourage all of you to go at least once. http://www.blacksheepgathering.org/ I discovered public wireless internet access while in Portland which I thought was a novel idea...best thing since sliced bread as far as I'm concerned.

This year I've had to refrain from going to Gibson's Fibre Festival because...gasp...I'm fibered out. I never thought I'd see the day.

Have you all got the fall Interweave Knits?...Oooo! So many cool patterns I am partial to the Trellis and Vine Pullover. I was pouring over knitting and weaving magazines at Chapters and I'm always amazed at some of the monstrosities that make it into certain knitting magazines. I saw one pattern that was for a sunflower scarf...EGAD! It was horrible! Like watching a train wreck it's difficult to look away but I think it could have been the bilious yellow colour they used in the scarf that ensured that it's sheer depravity was into my psyche forever.

I hope everyone is knitting away and I hope you all get your own copies of Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain. Irmy and I went to see their presentation at the Surrey Fibre Arts Festival. http://www.arsenalpulp.com/bookinfo.php?index=294 It's has some really interesting interviews with various yarn bombing groups and some yarn bombers closer to home like Strathcona's KnitGirl. You'll find out how to build your yarn bombing arsenal, and knit some cool yarn bombing patterns as well as ideas to get you started. Irmy and I had our own very cool yarn bombing brain waves while listening to Mandy and Leanne.Stay tuned we may share some of them with you.

Stay posted everyone and don't forget to spread the fibre love to all your friends. To everyone on Ravelry I'll be there soon...I just need to find my password. Take care!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who Taught You to Knit?

Paying respects to my Nana

Greetings my lovelies, if you're eagerly awaiting fall like me, you'll have welcomed the rain in the Terminal City these past few days. Two days I didn't have to water my out-of-control basil, oregano, and catnip plants. The tarragon may have a good chance of recovery too.

The cooler days have me also awaiting the fall fibre mags, especially Knitscene because I will cast on the Heather Hoodie Vest by Debbie O'Neill, in a reddish-brown shade of Bernat Softee Chunky yarn, my favourite acrylic. Warm and soft, it will be that extra hug I'll likely be looking for this fall.

My Nana taught me to knit and crochet at my request when I was about five years old and I've knit for the past 32 years since then. I've knit many sweaters, hats, and scarves over the years, designed some of my colourwork charts, and crocheted doilies and Christmas ornaments from many antique pattern books. In later years, Nana has been impressed with my fibre arts; knit and crocheted baby clothes, more complicated sweaters, hats, larger lace projects, my search to teach myself tatting, and finally my dream to knit socks.

Sadly, my Nana has had several strokes in the past six months which have now left her blind and with serious bleeding in her brain. The care home where she and now my grandfather both live has an amazing staff who don't just check on her every hour, but the care aides sit with her and listen to music, hold her hand and describe the day outside her window. They paint her nails a different colour each week. They make sure she's had a little puff of perfume if she's up to visiting in the great room. They promised us she would be not only kept comfortable but also kept groomed, cared for, and kept company. It's difficult to admit even to myself that we are just left to wait for her passing, but we are reassured that above all else, she will not suffer, and neither will her dignity.

I left her care home after hearing the doctor's prognosis and the promises from her care staff that they will take care of her, and stopped at my LYS initially for the fall Knitscene and Interweave Knits but they were out, so instead I picked up some sock yarn. When all else fails, I knit socks.

And really, the best way I can think of to honour my Nana for all that she taught me is to keep these skills and traditions alive. In my last post I wrote about my first foray into home canning, something I'm excited to keep up. It worked through the Great Depression and was a common household practice in the 40's and 50's. I hope home canning and preserving makes as much a comeback as the fibre arts have; I knew many classmates growing up whose parents didn't can fruits and veggies, make their own jams and relishes, nor did they knit or sew like my mom and my Nana did.

Because of the moves from a gated community to assisted living, and now to a care home, I've been receiving things that belonged to my Nana. Some are heirlooms, some have a monetary value, some only sentimental. There are jewelry pieces and antiques that were already decided would go to me, but some of the things I wanted most were my Nana's recipes. And the devilled egg plate with the centre pickle/relish dish with the chicken-shaped lid. I love that plate. Nana taught me how to make devilled eggs, too.

I'd love to hear what family traditions you're keeping alive, so please leave us a comment below, or email us at terminalknitters@gmail.com.

On My Needles

With my need for a quick knit fix, I picked up a skein each of Noro's Kureyon Socks and Silk Garden Socks, on sale at 30% off at 88 Stitches in Langley's Walnut Grove neighbourhood. I've just started the toe decreases on the second cuff-down sock in Kureyon, and debating whether the Silk Garden Socks skein should be actual socks or the first fingerless gloves of the year.

But good news still happens in my family, I just found out my brother and sister-in-law are expecting a little sister for my nephew! Hooray! I get a niece! No plain booties and sweaters, I can knit something lacy and pretty! Squee!!

Review: Pic-Knit at Surrey Museum

Emily and I had a great time this year, the event coincided with the Cloverdale Blueberry Festival so there were local artisans in the courtyard with a stage for musicians along with some of the yarn vendors. Inside were our usual local vendors, an info table from my guild, the Fraser Valley Knitting Circle (more members for fall?), and the guest speakers were Vancouver's Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore, co-authors of Yarn Bombing: the art of crochet and knit graffiti (Arsenal Press). We had met Leanne and Mandy at Fibres West this past spring as they were promoting the book, and it was great to see them again, hear about their experiences in putting the book together, and obviously to get our very own signed copies. We hope to score an interview with them for a future podcast, once our professional-quality microphone arrives.

Barbara Braaten of Langley Yarns and Crafts was happy to see us again, and I was even happier to show her... a finished project! My Entomology scarf made out of some Yarns Plus tencel in colourway "Twilight" I bought from her near on three years ago. And I didn't have them with me, but I also knit a pair of socks in the Opal sock yarn I'd purchased at the same time.

But Barbara knows she'll see Emily and I at these events and she steered us toward a new project from Ashford, a kit to make your own nuno-felted scarf (see kit here). with silk merino sliver, a piece of silk chiffon (upon which the felting takes place) and complete instructions, you can bypass the sold-out nuno felting class at Maiwa and teach yourself for about $16 Cdn. Things you need to have on hand to complete the project include a rolling pin, hot water, detergent (for the felting), bubble wrap (for cushioning), a long flat surface to work on, and towels. It looks like a fun kit, I can't wait to give it a try!

Another yarn vendor I want to mention is the new line of yarns called Yarn Candy by Melissa. Melissa is the daughter of Sue, owner of 88 Stitches yarn shop in Langley and has been working her way into the yarn world. She started out selling handmade stitch markers and shawl pins on consignment and through her own etsy shop, yarncandybymelissa.etsy.com, and she's now expanded to her own hand-dyed yarns.

She currently offers a range of base yarns including cashmere, cashmere blends, silk blends, and a super sock merino, in a variety of weights. Identifying her colourways by batch number rather than name, her eye for colours truly speaks for itself. I picked up two skeins of Super Sock Merino - she recommends two skeins for a pair, most people knit longer socks than I do - in a fuchsia-violet mix that caught my eye.

The yarn knit up beautifully, the colours blending perfectly with NO POOLING! I knit a sock from each skein and the colour shifts were subtle but still held their own. And after washing and blocking they were some of the softest socks ever on my feet. Next time I'm getting that brown-and-pink silk blend! Check her out online or pop in to 88 Stitches to pet her yarns and check out their stock of great yarns.

Housekeeping Stuff

As previously mentioned, Emily and I are awaiting the arrival of our new, professional-quality, "Snowball" podcasting microphone from Blue Microphones. It better work, and I just hope there's no import tax on it. But soon, my yarnies, soon we will be regaling you with our tales of bad fashion, rowdy SnB's, and our plans for dominance over the West Coast's fibre-arts community!

Coming soon: FALL KNITTING!! Hooray!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's a Heatwave!

This past week the inhabitants of the Terminal City - and pretty much the rest of the province - were the hostages of a heat wave the likes of which we rarely see! Meanwhile, Emily has been dealing with the rain in Ontario during her trip back east to see friends and family. Harumph. But the long-term forecast sees rain around Wednesday/Thursday. We can only hope!

So in the days of sweltering, sticky heat where the sweat trickles down into the crack of your butt, what are people knitting??

Me? Nothing. A pair of booties for my mom's coworker. Beh. I thought the other night that spinning might be easier. Not so much, as I'm drop-spindling soy silk and having sticky, sweaty fingers are not suitable pre-drafting tools.

So it's too hot to knit. Too hot to spin. Too hot to blog as well, since the laptop was shutting down when it overheated.

The solution: FOOD! The folks' gardens are just teeming with gorgeous green veggies including beans (yello, green, and purple bush beans), sugar snap peas, beets, green peppers, cucumbers, and the ubiquitous zucchini, all twenty-seven of them. The corn isn't ready for picking yet, but I swear the stalks are near nine feet high! There is some concern that the bees didn't make it far enough into the greenhouse to sufficiently pollinate the tomatoes, as there are a lot of blossoms, but not many tomato buds yet. The carrots are doing well, they always do well in the greenhouse, too. There were rumours of lettuce, but I haven't gone to check on it yet.

My responsibility is the herbs, and I currently have a good three pots of lush basil, two plants of golden oregano, a lonely lavender that has finally decided this year that it likes the pot it's in, some wayward mints in a windowbox, and a resurrecting lemon thyme. This year I'll move the herbs into the greenhouse for the winter to try and keep them growing all year rather than dying back.

And for summer I decided the next appliance to master after the bread maker was the ice cream maker. There was one attempt last year that did not go well and while the end product tasted fine, the texture wasn't quite right. Sadly the freezer chamber wasn't frozen enough, so the ice cream maker was put away early.

However this year I thought perhaps the chamber had been put in the wrong freezer, so it went into one of the deepfreezes. Success!! My first attempt this year was the "easy" vanilla recipe using 500ml of whipping cream, 250ml low-fat milk, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix together. Turn on machine. Add mixture to machine, and in one hour you become the Dairy Queen! Or either Ben or Jerry, such would be your preference. I have since made chai tea ice cream and cafe latte ice cream, both to rave reviews, and am now pondering my next flavour. I'm hoping I can find a recipe for gelato at home with a minimum of fuss. If not, then ginger ice cream is next on the list.

Growing up, summer also meant home canning season and pretty much anything that could be put in a jar got canned. My childhood canning memories of my mom were mostly fruits (pears, peaches, cherries), jams, pickles, and relishes. My best friend - whom we refer to as "Matter", of "Matter" and "Kansas" in Seattle - has become our gourmet jam-maker with blends of different fruits and spices, including my current favourite, spiced blueberry peach. The cinnamon really gives it a nice warm flavour.

For my own first try at home preserving, I chose a mango chutney from the Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. The recipe said it yields 5 cups, but I got seven 250ml jars out of it. Even better than making a great-tasting chutney was hearing the SNAP! of each lid as it sealed. I giggled each time a lid sealed, and my mom found it a bit funny. But it's a cool thing to do something like this for the first time. In the age of convenience foods and many people losing that connection to food, there is also a loss of respect for where our food comes from.

More importantly for me with home-preserving and home-cooking in general, you can control the ingredients in your recipes. No food dyes, artificial preservatives, or chemical additives for me, thank you. And if it's organic? Even better! My chutney will include an ingredient list and - for gifts - a "Nutritional Facts" table attached to each jar.

This is much the same feeling I have behind my knitting and sewing; I get to control the components going into my finished product. Rayon fabric for a summer wrap top; superfine tencel for a lightweight shawl; alpaca yarn for toasty-warm winter hats. And next? Apple crumbles, spiced apple preserves, and apple pies from my generous neighbours' apple trees.

Because it's still too hot to knit.

Things Missed from the Previous Post

I meant to mention how excited I was at finally getting myself a swift! ripnknit from Ravelry has several cross-arm-style swifts listed in her Stash under the "trade/sell" tab. If you're a Ravelry member you can PM her to check how much for shipping to your address and she will send to Canada! Her father-in-law is the craftsman and they come in a variety of stain colours (mine is cherry!), they're incredibly easy to set up and pack away for storage, and if you happen to lose any of the hardware, all the washers, the hex nut, screw, and wing nut are easily purchased at your local hardware store. She was great to deal with, uses PayPal for convenience, so if you're looking for a crossarm-style swift, I am thrilled to death with mine!

Upcoming Events

Pic-Knit at Surrey Museum Saturday, August 8th 10am - 4pm. Knitting demonstrations, local guilds, llamas and alpacas, and - of course - our local vendors! Do go upstairs to the Textile Studio & Hooser Library to view a demonstration on the weaving looms! Bring a snack, your water bottle, your latest WIP, and BRING MONEY! Because you WILL buy yarn! I'm taking my Entomology scarf to show Barbara to prove that I don't just buy and hoard her yarn!

Langley Arts Alive! Saturday, August 15th, 10am - 5pm. Fraser Highway between 204th and 208th Streets. A family-friendly event featuring artists and artisans, crafts for the kids, music, and it's all free. Come on out and see what Langley is celebrating in its arts community!

Farmer's Markets It's prime time for the farmers markets in and around the GVRD, so check out the many options; there's bound to be one near you! Re-use your grocery bags, stock up on cloth bags, or if you're a crafter create your own eco-friendly shopping bag with leftover fabric, cotton yarn, or cut up some plastic bags to make your own "PLARN" for knitting or crocheting a new, durable bag (like this one from RecycleCindy) that also makes a great statement on environmental responsibility. Check out the schedules for the various Vancouver area farmers markets at eatlocal.org, the SFU Local Food Project at sfulocalfood.ca, and the Surrey Urban Farmers Market at surreymarket.org.

PSST!!! It's less than five months until Christmas! (I know, I know...) Have you started your crafting/making list yet? No? Me neither! Maybe we should mosey over to knitty.com to check out their get-started pattern ideas!

Alrighty my lovelies, that's all I've got for you today, there might be more to come before the next podcast (provided we can record audibly!!) when Emily returns to the Terminal City and we can talk about all things yarny, badly dressed, and/or drunk.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Notes from the First Podcast... or is it the *lost* podcast....

First I have to say that it's very difficult to find a decent microphone at one of our local big-box electronics stores that will pick up sound well. So we started out with a lil' $14.99 special that the sales guy understood might not be appropriate for what we want to do with it, so this may require some more online sleuthing. But I'm up to the task!

But despite out lacking of proper equipment, we have recorded our first podcast episode and at least we got our feet wet and will have a better idea of what we want to do with future podcasts. We do have a poll on the blog site here, and hopefully we can attract some listeners through our Ravelry contacts and by listing ourselves on iTunes and some promotions from other knit podcasters.

However, in the event that our first recording session cannot be edited into something passable for podcast consumption, I'd at least like to post some notes here that were mentioned in the podcast but we don't want people to miss out on.

Coming Events
New Westminster's Heritage Picnic
July 25 11:30am - 3:30pm
Location TBA!
Demonstrations of knitting, spinning, weaving, and crochet.

Pic-Knit at the Surrey Museum!
Saturday, August 8 10:00am-4:00pm Drop in, by Donation
Join a summer picnic of knitters, crafters and suppliers in the Surrey Museum. Pack a lunch, watch the experts in action, and learn tips and tricks in our mini-workshops to inspire your own modern or heritage yarn craft. Tour the Museum’s Textile Studio and the Hooser Library to view our extensive collection of looms, weaving samples and rare textile books.

at Surrey Museum, 17710 - 56A Avenue (Cloverdale, just a block up and over from Clover Square Village) For information, call 604-592-6956

Gibsons Landing Fibre Festival Running annually in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast for 10 years now, the Gibsons Festival is wonderful. If you've never heard of it before, check out the website quick to take advantage of any classes that are still open, but the merchant mall is open to anyone!

Langley Weavers & Spinners Guild Artisans' Sale Another great local event in historic Fort Langley at the original City Hall held on the first Saturday and Sunday in November (the 7th and 8th this year), at the Fort Langley Community Hall with items for sale produced by the guild members themselves and other invited local artisans (e.g. jewelry, accessories for knitting, sewing, soaps, treats, etc.), including local yarn and craft suppliers.

Fibres West
The first Fibres West event went well this year and is seeking to expand to include more classes, more animals (sorry Wenchlette, there is NO room for an alpaca in my car!!), more knitting vendors... bascially just expanding upon what started out well this year. Next year's event will run March 26th and 27th, thankfully after the Olympics but before Easter, so mark it on your calendar. Brenda from Penelope Fibre Arts would love more suggestions on how to make this a bigger and better show every year, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be!

Stores and Yarns We Talked About

One of our favourite shops to visit is Maiwa out on Granville Island, not just for their great yarn selection, but also for their selections of natural dyes and popular textile and dyeing classes during their annual Textile Symposium. Emily managed to sign up for one of their felting classes, but if you're thinking of taking any of their classes, be sure to sign up soon as they sell out FAST! Check out their list of classes, events, and lectures at http://www.maiwa.com/symposium/index.html. Registration for the classes and workshops has already opened but there are a number of classes still available.

I mentioned that I recently finished my Absinthe socks from the Spring 2009 Knitty, and I knit them out of Kertzer's On Your Toes Limited Edition in colour #3842 because the green-y yellow-y colourway reminded me of absinthe itself. If you have a chance to pick up some of this yarn in any colourway, do so, there's aloe in the yarn for softness and they wash up so soft!! They're currently my favourite socks, even though it's too effing hot to wear socks right now.

Another one of our favourite yarn shops is Langley Yarns and Crafts which is owned by Barbara Braaten. It's a home-based shop so she does mostly online yarn sales and at local fibre shows, but if you give her a call to make an appointment, she is most accommodating. She's a member of the Langley Weavers and Spinners Guild, and is a vendor of supplies and finished items both knit and woven at the annual LWSG Artisans' Sale (see Events above). You'll recognize it, it's the big yellow-and-white Colonial-style building in all the movies shot in and around Langley. Barbara is a fabulous vendor and has great advice about fibres and hardware, but be warned! If you buy yarn from her, she wants to see finished projects! Last year's Pic-Knit (see the Events heading) she remembered I'd asked her about a spinning wheel my dad found for sale in Saskatchewan, and asked what I'd made with the previous yarns I'd bought from her. This year I have to have something to show her, I'm afraid she won't sell me more yarn!

If you head to Seattle, Washington for a weekend trip and you're a fibre-freak like us, do make the time to visit Weaving Works in the University District. Don't let the shop name fool you, while you can learn everything you wanted to know about weaving, they have a fabulous stock of yarns for all crafts; the best buttons, needles and other tools; spinning supplies; dye supplies; and a fabulous stock of books, patterns, and current fibre magazines. They have such a great stock of books that I actually found a tatting book that I didn't have yet! And because she was buying it they hollered to their tatting specialist that someone was buying a tatting book so she could come and witness the event! It was great, I rarely meet other tatters by chance, so she quizzed me about how I was introduced to it, how I learned, and informed me that she holds tatting classes! Be still my lacy heart.

Emily ventured south with her spinning teacher and another friend to Oregon's Black Sheep Gathering held annually in Eugene, and featuring about three entire shows' worth in one three-day weekend! A trade show, livestock show, fibre arts, sheep-to-shawl contest, wool/mohair show (really? cool!), and - of course - spinning! Emily said it was fabulous and I'm hoping to make it to one in the next couple of years. I am a huge fan of Oregon since our friends "Matter" and "Kansas" lived in the Alphabet District of Portland, and have had some memorable times there, even if I don't quite remember what happened :)

And if you visit Oregon, don't just hit the cities; there are some great smaller towns and coastal places to visit besides Portland and Eugene. Definitely make time to visit Cannon Beach and Manzanita. Both have beautiful ocean views, seaside restaurants, and unique shopping (I sound like a travel guide), and the best part is to go beachcombing for sea glass, shells, and sand dollars.

So this will do it for our first official posting, be sure to check back for future updates mid-August after we've been to the Surrey Museum Pic-Knit and perhaps have some more events and news from around the Terminal City. Hopefully the news is that the heatwave is over, but we'll just have to see!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Post!

Alright folks this is the first post on the blog, pre-podcast even. It's kinda like a placeholder or a bookmark; it reminds us that we have to come back here and actually post some stuff.

So yeah, it's a podcast, but we thought we'd just introduce ourselves briefly before we all get too wrapped up in everything that we forget that you all might not have a flaming clue of who we are and why we're doing this.

She's Emily and I'm Irmingaard and we've been playing around with the idea of a podcast and blog site for a while now. Mostly because I've been listening to a
lot of knitting and crafting podcasts and have yet to find a good Canadian one. So I figured, "Hey! We're Canadian, we knit, we do lots of other fibre-y and crafty stuff, and our lives are a little left of normal, we could do our own podcast!" And of course the "we" means Emily needs to do it with me.

And as if you can't guess, Emily and Irmingaard aren't our real names - GASP! - because a lot of our actual work involves confidential stuff and if we used our real names we'd get in trouble. However our friends would say it's more to protect the guilty (us) than the innocent (them).

But for now, look forward to our maybe-more-than-monthly podcasting and semi-frequent blog updates, and we hope that everyone will have as good a time listening as we expect to have recording.

Irmingaard & Emily