Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sometimes we see holiday gift ideas that are a little more entertaining than most. This one is from our friend Eileen.

First we'll have to explain a little bit about her brother's family. Her brother has a very large family--7 children. Her brother's family is apparently very organized because not only do they home school and thus prepare lessons for all these children, but also every child is assigned a color. The children always wear clothes in their assigned colors so that at laundry time, everything is easy to sort and put away.

The colors turn out to be a beautiful rainbow:
Eileen used our Encore yarn and crocheted each kid a scarf in his or her color. Then she made the Mom a white scarf, and the Dad a black scarf. Grandma? She got the whole rainbow--and notice the black and white fringe.
What do you get as a gift for your favorite knitter or quilter?

Socks are always good. They're inexpensive, people love them, and you can always use another pair. They are good for knitters, quilters--or anyone.

For quilters, try a spool of silk thread as a stocking stuffer. The colors are soft and exquisite. We're occasionally caught just staring at it as we walk by. It sneaks into applique invisibly. Gray is a safe color if you're trying to decide what to pick. Or if you're going wild with the gift--one of each!

Fused glass buttons by Bonnie Maresh, a Cape Cod glass artist. We have had more than one knitter design a sweater around the buttons. They would also make great embellishments for an art quilt.

We can always use notions, and they make great stocking stuffers. How about some quilting needles?

Or knitting needles?

Allow us to rave about these quilter's rulers by Creative Grids. We love them. They have thin lines on them to allow more precise measuring. They have flat, sandpaper-like grips that keep them on the fabric, but that are still clear so you can see through them. Get a few different sizes for your quilter. Quilters can always use another ruler.

In the last entry, we showed a Bagsmith bag. This is a smaller version, a tool tote. Knitters can use this one for smaller projects, such as socks.

Stay tuned for more ideas!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Gift Ideas

Over the next several weeks, we'll feature gift ideas to make and buy for knitting and quilting. Here's a start. For the knitter, these Bagsmith bags are durable and hold all your knitting tools, plus a project:

For the quilter, try a fat-quarter six pack. We have many packs made up with coordinating themes. Shown below are "Paws of Pride," "Sugar and Spice," "Jingle Bells," and "Attic Treasures"--a little something for everyone:

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Shadow Triumphs

Here is Marie with her finished Shadow Knitting sweater:

And Krista with hers.

The amount of knitting that these two people did in just a few months was truly staggering (they were on size 2 needles), and they should both be congratulated for their absolutely gorgeous work.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

New Yarns and Fabrics this week

We have a lot of new yarns and fabrics that have come in this past week. Here are just a few samples.

From Crystal Palace, we have a new worsted-weight chenille. It's great for baby items and facecloths. Pick a color from the rainbow!

On the quilting front, we have 5 colors of Minkee, a 60" fabric by Benartex that is super-soft and fabulous for backing baby blankets. Deb Kerr, our teacher who has a longarm, quilted a baby blanket with our Noah's Arc fabric on the front, and the blue/green Minkee on the back. How cute is this?

We also have new whimsical cats from Andover:

And coordinates for them:
And finally, we have the third issue of Asian Fabric magazine, put out by Kona Bay fabrics. It is available only in local quilt shops. It is a great issue, with many ideas for using large-scale Asian fabrics. (We also have just a few issues left of Issue #2.) In the photo, one of our Kona Bay Asian fabrics is in the background:

Stop by our store anytime, Monday through Saturday, 10:00-5:30, to see these new items and more!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Most knitters have a lot of projects going at once. If you want to get some of them finished, how do you do it? The secret is to to work on small amounts of your knitting at a time, and to do it regularly. Remember that knitting is portable:

You should always have at least one project in a stage where you don't have to think very much, so you can work on it for short periods in distracting situations. And you should use that portability to its advantage.

The truth of the matter is that you should only knit for short periods anyway--usually no more than about 10-20 minutes. It's not good for your body to do repetitive motions for long periods of time. You want to be able to keep knitting for many years without pain.

If you're an obsessive knitter (are there any knitters who aren't?), you can sneak it in many times during the day.

Start with breakfast time. Cooking eggs takes 2 minutes. That gives you time to do a row on a sock, or to knit a few stitches on a sweater. Not much, but more stitches than you had when the eggs were raw. (No need to knit at the breakfast table unless you have a very serious knitting deadline. Enjoy your food and family.)

Do you have a slow e-mail system, or do you dial up and have to wait a long time for web pages? If so, knit during the slow parts.

Do you work and have a lunch break? Knit at lunch every day for 10 minutes.

Knit during TV programs--almost too obvious to mention.

Knitting during theater movies is harder if you're a stitch dropper (which most of us are) and if you like to be able to see what you're knitting (not completely necessary if you practice not looking)--but there's always time before the movie starts. Concerts? Intermission is a bonus. Rock concerts--why stop? (Whom could you possibly "distract"?) Meetings? Determine whether you will be fired or repriminded, and go with your best judgment. But conferences? Go ahead and knit.

Take your knitting everywhere, whether or not you think you will be able to work on it, and it's surprising how often you can. You can knit at the bank drive-through while waiting for the teller. You can knit if you are having dinner with friends for the chatting before and after. (If you are awake and talk to them as you knit, they usually aren't offended.) If you run across road construction and have to wait, pull out that knitting. Maybe your car will break down, and you will have to knit while you wait for the tow truck. (This actually happened to me just this afternoon, and my friend Chuck's scarf is quite a bit longer now.) If your Significant Other has to run into Radio Shack for 5 minutes, stay and knit in the car (like so many men who read books in cars outside our shop). If you're on car trips with another person, knit in the car. Do you ride the bus? The train? Guess what to do.

And that is how you get your knitting done. The secret is to keep it with you at all times in a knitting bag.

Rather than getting angry because you're being held up, you'll probably find that you're usually a little bummed when things start moving again. The famous knitter Elizabeth Zimmerman once got into a driving situation where a man doggedly refused to move his car out of the way for her. All she did was smile and hold up her knitting. He moved.

Many knitters are impatient about waiting, and knitting can occupy us--and as a bonus, we get our knitting done. Knitting is not only a pleasant thing to do, but it also can make wait times seem like valuable moments for accomplishment.