Saturday, 2 November 2013

Top Ten Quotes About Knitting and Knit City pictures

At our recent spinning retreat (Desert Mesa Retreat, Cache Creek, BC), we were encouraged to do something with the number 10, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this retreat. I came up with a list of quotes about knitting.
One week after the retreat, I was a vendor at a fairly new event in Vancouver called Knit City.

The guest speaker on Saturday night was Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, otherwise known as The Yarn Harlot. Here is a picture of the organizers Amanda and Fiona, with Stephanie in the middle.
Because 9 out of the 10 quotes were from Stephanie's writings, I felt obligated to get her permission first before I posted this blog, which she gladly gave me. Don't miss the opportunity to hear her speak (or buy her books). She is a hoot!

So here are myTop Ten:

10.  Knitters just can't watch TV without doing something else. Knitters just can't wait in line, knitters just can't sit waiting at the doctor's office. Knitters need knitting to add a layer of interest in other, less constructive ways.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
9.    “ I will continue to freak out my children by knitting in public. It's good for them.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
8.    “SABLE- A common knitting acronym that stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
7.    Advice for New Knitters When choosing a pattern, look for ones that have words such as "simple", "basic", and "easy". If you see the words "intriguing", "challenging", or "intricate", look elsewhere.  If you happen across a pattern that says "heirloom", slowly put down the pattern and back away.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
6.    “It is important for knitters to know two things about frogging: that cats are capable of this knitting action, and even seem to enjoy it and seek opportunities to do it; and that foul language is a normal, healthy accompaniment to frogging, whether it is you or the cat that accomplished the task.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
5.    “A half finished shawl left on the coffee table isn't a mess; it's an object of art.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
4.    The twitch above my right eye will disappear with knitting practice.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
3.    “The best reason for a knitter to marry is that you can't teach the cat to be impressed when you finish a lace scarf.”
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
2.    “...the number one reason knitters knit is because they are so smart that they need knitting to make boring things interesting. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
1.    “Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.”
Elizabeth Zimmermann

Finally, some pictures from the Knit City event.

My booth - it is amazing what you can get into a 5x10 foot space.
Some fibre from The Wacky Windmill from Alberta

 Batts to die for.

 Michelle Franklin from Hope with wonderful handmade garments.

Got to finally meet Facebook friend Tammy McDow with incredible hand dyed and handspun Bluefaced Leicester yarns.

Just a few of Melissa Nasby's creations (SoulFibre Studio, Salmon Arm, BC)

She liked it so much, she wasn't even going to knit it.

A customer from Fibres West, showing off a cowl she made from my yarn purchased last spring.

Oh, did I mention there was yarn for sale?
After a long weekend's work, my travel buddy Sheila Grant and I relaxed at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. A great weekend!
















Desert Mesa Spinning Retreat, October 2013

This year was a special year - the 10th anniversary of the retreat being held in Cache Creek, BC. It was decided that a 2-day retreat was not long enough so this one was 3 days. Everyone arrived Thursday afternoon, and went home Sunday afternoon, after having spun, laughed, watched, learned, entertained, ate, spun, ate, spun, ate and somewhere in there, slept. We had so much fun, it was decided that future retreats should always be 3 days!
Here are some pictures of some of the goings-on:
Gudie Hupfauer modelling her "sweggings" with interesting pattern placement. (Yes, they are made entirely from a recycled man's sweater).

There were 51 of us at the event - some have been at these retreats since they were first started back in the late 1990's at Tulahead, BC.

A bagful of fibres purchased from my shop, waiting to be spun.
Anne Carmichael brought her sock knitting machine, and fascinated us all with the workings.

Of course, there was a Show and Tell - with so many beautiful items to show, and so many stories to tell, we had to spread it out over 2 days. This shawl would have taken the Fan's Favourite - an illusion shawl, handknit by Gail Wensley from Whistler, knit only with knit and purl stitches, revealing a picture only when held at just the right angle.
Next, are 2 similar but different shawls knitted by two similar but different long time friends, Elizabeth Toutant and Fay Lutz.

The theme of the retreat was 10, and everyone was encouraged to come up with something to do with the number 10. Several of us managed to do this - here are some examples:
Sandra McNaughton from Summerland brought 10 shawls that she has knitted out of laceweight handspun yarn made mostly on drop spindles!

 Cecilia Harris brought a matching set of headband, mittens and hat made from handspun dog hair, and pictures of the 10 dogs that she harvested the hair to spin.
Donne Arneson brought 10 skeins of silk that she had hand dyed; Donna Faulkes brought 10 handspun skeins of yarn, each from a different breed of fleece, Gail Dickson brought 10 items made from handspun yarn, Heather Specken brought 10 items (woven and/or knitted and/or handspun) that she made in the past year, Karen Bonter told stories of the first 10 years of the Desert Mesa retreat, Lynn Rettberg brought many pairs of hand knit socks and gloves, and it went on.
This is a shawl made by Melody Lang of Nanaimo, it is handspun and beautifully knit, from a colourway of fibre that I produce called "Ripe Banana".
Some of the beautiful handcrafted and intricate boxes and jewelry made of wood by our carpenter, Julia Armstrong.
 And some of Gudie's funky and fun handspun yarns (I recognize more of my hand dyed fibre!)
In another posting, I will put my contribution to the 10s -
Top Ten Quotes About Knitting!
The Deadly Duo of Julia and Gudie organized a "Talent Night" on Saturday which probably was the highlight of the weekend, especially the "50 Shades of Grey" story taking place in a yarn shop, perfectly performed by Sue Henry and Michelle Garrett-Jones from Pemberton. They have promised a second chapter.
Interested in attending a retreat in April or October? Contact Sheila Kirk at

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Spin-in at the Stewart Farm, Surrey with the Peace Arch Spinners and Weavers

Once again, I was invited to be a vendor at this annual event - the venue is so beautiful, and the company so enjoyable, how could I resist? Shelley Welsh from the Peace Arch Spinners took several pictures and sent them to me - her mosaic shows spinners, the Stewart Farm main farmhouse, some of my fibre for sale, and a gorgeous shawl made by Venessa that got many compliments.

Some of my hand dyed Bluefaced Leicester pencil rovings.
Hand dyed Mawata silk hankies
My River Rocks colourway with some spun up.
New addition to my inventory - hand dyed sock yarn.
A lovely day spent with friends - thanks, everyone.

Monday, 29 July 2013

A drive in the country to Tunkwa Lake region

A hot summer day - where better to spend it than by a lake? Since my daughter and her partner were camping for the weekend, we decided to take a drive and join them for a while. We headed out of Kamloops, taking the old road to Lac Le Jeune where we were guaranteed to spot a full complement of wildlife. We carried on through Logan Lake (home of the Highland Valley copper mine).

Just outside of town is the turnoff to Tunkwa and Leighton Lakes - a very popular camping and fishing area.
 And this was the only wildlife (other than ducks and geese) that we saw the entire day.

 Doesn't this look comfortable? I wonder if the mosquitoes got them at night.
 Dad and daughter walking to the fishing area off the shore.

A bit of geographical information.
 about the rocks we are standing on.

We drove back the other way, towards Savona and Kamloops Lake. We drove through historical ranch country - large ranches owned for generations by the Haywood-Farmer family.

 Here is a link with information on the Indian Gardens Ranch -

Monday, 15 July 2013

Dye Day, July 2013

Once again, Sharon Philip offered her beautiful country home as our dye headquarters - but not for just one day this year - for the whole weekend! Some of our group had their own travel trailers pulled up and stayed there for the night. Others went home and came back on Sunday.
Others stayed just for the one day.

Driving past Terry Prehara's home, with adopted-for-the-summer flock of sheep.


The day was perfect - just the right temperature and sunny. Kamloops is amazingly diverse when it comes to geography - you have to drive only a few kilometres to be in a different world.

Saw some wildlife, and some not so wild.

The entrance to Sharon's farm. Four sections of their property are now protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada - a private group who purchases parcels of land throughout Canada, with strict rules for future development - meaning NONE. The land is preserved for its special qualities for all to enjoy forever.  Check out this link:

Well worth preserving, wouldn't you say?

Okay, let's get to work. And Jen Wagner's t-shirt says is all -
no matter how much you know, you can always learn more.
 Jen is measuring out her dyes to apply to her home-grown roving.
Sharon had all the instructions written out for accurate percentage dyeing. She had the dyes already mixed in a 1% solution, she had large tables set up protected with plastic, lots of dye pots, Coleman stoves, rubber gloves - she didn't miss a thing.
AND provided an empty 3-car garage for us to work in.
Soak and rinse area.

Kim Gauthier is dyeing a sock blank.
I decided to try the ice cube dyeing method. I pre-soaked BFL superwash pencil rovings in water/citric acid (no measurements here)
and laid it out on a grate outside.
 I then covered the fibre with ice cubes, and sprinkled my dye powders directly over the ice cubes randomly (teal, purple and burnt orange).
I then left the sun to do its thing.
Unfortunately, the sun disappeared, although it stayed fairly warm. This is the fibre after being rinsed. But the magic comes in the spun yarn.
Taking a break, enjoying the summer heat, the fabulous view, and the sounds of the hummingbirds at the feeders.
Imagine, the only sound you can hear is the hummingbird!
A skein of yarn with dye solution applied with a sponge, wrapped in plastic and ready for 15 minutes of steaming to set the colour.

 Kim Gauthier with her skein prepared on a warping board, ready for painting with dyes thickened with wallpaper paste, to make a self-striping sock yarn. Yes, wallpaper paste.
It holds the dye onto the fibre, and rinses off perfectly at the end.
Time for lunch - plenty to choose from and plenty for dinner later on.
 Terry has dyed some grey handspun with a modified tie-dye technique, using 3 different colours, and is checking the results. Turned out that one more colour was needed and WOW!

Annette Gauthier and helpers are having fun dyeing a sock blank.

Some results from our play day. Sock blanks, hand painted handspun yarn, and hand dyed fibre waiting for spinning.
 The fence posts made a good drying rack too.
It's time for me to leave, but I had to take a leisurely drive back to the main road - there were too many beautiful pictures waiting to be taken.

Thanks, Sharon, for your hospitality
and hard work.

and some end results from my day

ice cube fibre dyeing

hat made from hand painted skein

3-colour tie-dyed skein