Thursday

A treat of a Retreat!

This past weekend we held our second annual knitting retreat at the Northridge Inn and Resort in Sundridge, Ontario. I am absolutely ecstatic about how incredible the weekend was! We had a fantastic room to hold our classes in, tons of new yarns and samples set up, we had an amazing teacher in Shirley Paden who is incredibly knowledgeable, full of energy and always so helpful whenever any of the students had questions. We had a great time and were given so much information! The owners of The Northridge Inn are Brenda and Michael- two incredibly wonderful people. They were there from the moment you came in for breakfast in the morning until the time we were (finally) leaving to our rooms for the night at midnight. They accommodated those with dietary issues with no problems and were great with our meal times and snacks! The wait staff was incredible- they all took the time to learn our names and by the end of the weekend we all felt like family. What an incredible setting- so serene and beautiful right on the water, and the food.... I don't even have the words! It was INCREDIBLE!!!! It was presented beautifully and they didn't use a lot of heavy creams or sauces- everything was made fresh that day to order by the 29 year old head chef! Just incredible! 

I am working hard to plan next year's retreat and already have a teacher booked for June as well as the resort and will be announcing all the details next week! The set up will be the same with a $200 non refundable deposit to hold your spot and the remainder will be due by April.

Let me take you through the weekend and give you a taste of the fun that we had! 

Shirley Paden directing the class
Answering Questions


Working away
An outdoor lunch on the patio
A captive audience!


My mother the model!


Scavenger hunt reveal time!
Revealing the finds


20 items found over the course of the weekend
Elaine showing us her noise maker... and her moves!
Very good sports!



Wendy and her FASCINATING stories of her finds!
Picking prizes!

The winners!




Sisters... being sisters.
Back to work for one more class!




My weekend project... revealed soon!
Market tables and bran new yarns!



Our incredible group of ladies!

Shirley and I- not a bad team!

Friday Knit Night Sale

Howdy knitters! 
I have exciting news! This Friday night from 5pm to 9pm during knit night we’re having a sale. Malabrigo and Tanis Fiber Arts will be on for 25% off, two of my most favourite yarns in the universe. So here’s the deets!
Malabrigo
Lace Reg-$12 Sale-$9
Worsted Reg-$16.95 Sale-$12.71
Rios Reg-$19 Sale-$14.25
Twist Reg-$19 Sale-$14.25
Rasta Reg-$26 Sale-$19.50
Sock Reg-$27 Sale-$20.25
Tanis Fiber Arts
Green Label Aran Reg-$19 Sale-$14.25
Yellow Label DK Reg-$20 Sale-$15
Pink Label Lace Reg-$25 Sale-$18.25
Blue Label Fingering Reg-$22 Sale-$16.50
Purple Label Cashmere Sock Reg-$28 Sale-$21
So stop by on Friday between 5pm and 9pm! It will be knit night as usual, so come by and enjoy some tea, knitting and conversation with some lovely people.

Saturday

ONE SPOT LEFT!!!

Hello knitters!

Well this knitting retreat has certainly snuck up on us quickly with all the other events and travelling that have been going on the past few months. There is now ONE SPOT LEFT for our knitting retreat next weekend June 21-24, 2012. For those of you that have not attended a knitting retreat before- this is a great opportunity to do so. We have people coming from all over the place this year! New Liskeard, Toronto and even from the States! We always have a ton of fun, we learn a lot and.... we eat a lot. Got to fuel those brains for learning somehow. Let me give you the low down on this weekend.....


We will be holding this year's retreat at the Northridge Inn in Sundridge, Ontario from Thursday June 21 to Sunday June 24, 2012.

Arrival is between 5pm and 6pm on Thursday evening and we will have dinner together and enjoy a short presentation from Shirley Paden- our special guest teacher for the weekend. Shirley is an incredible knitwear designer who specializes her teachings on how to custom design knitwear for yourself and for your specific body type. Shirley published a book in 2009 entitled "Knitwear Design Workshop" and she now travels to teach all over the United States and Canada and also holds worldwide classes via the internet.

We will have 2.5 days of classes (17 hours total) and the classes are designed for even the most basic of knitters. If you know how to cast on, knit, purl and cast off then you are good to go. Shirley will guide us through each class and give us skills that will be used from one class to the next. The class descriptions can be found by clicking HERE or by visiting my blog at www.knittingretreat.blogspot.com or by visiting Shirley's website by clicking HERE or visiting www.shirleypaden.com. Be sure and peruse her extensive portfolio and note her exquisite taste and attention to detail specifically in her lace designs. Shirley has a true vision for textures and patterns in her designs that are seemingly unparalleled by any other knitwear designer I have ever seen. Check out videos of Shirley HERE or by visiting www.knittingdaily.com

What else?

Well in addition to your 2.5 days of classes, each attendee will receive a great gift bag chalk full of sample skeins and other treats and surprises ;) We will also have some wonderful door prizes for everyone that attends!

I am also debuting 3 BRAND NEW yarns and booklets on the weekend and there will be plenty of time to shop and peruse the market tables that I set up with new yarns, new samples, kits, books, patterns, accessories and TONS of inspiration. Don't forget about your shopping discount for the weekend as well. We will have Shirley's book on hand for you to purchase and for her to autograph. Shirley will be doing a reading from her book and will have a selection of her knit designs set up as samples for you to fondle and try on and we will have a great selection of yarn that can be used for her amazing designs.

The accommodations are incredible. The resort is situated right on the lake and every room has a view of the lake. Each room holds 2 queen sized beds, a sitting area, a TV, a fireplace and a washroom. Rooms are double occupancy and many people are coming alone and have been paired up with a roommate who I'm sure will become a lifelong friend! The resort also holds tennis courts, a swimming pool, a gym, a beach, firepit, paddle boats and other water toys and is in a great location for nature walks.

We will enjoy three meals together each day as well as two snack breaks each day- meals ARE INCLUDED in the cost of this event!

We will have a few evening events planned as well and will be holding a show and tell night for you to show us what you have been working on in the past little while or what you are just plain old darn proud of to have made.

The cost of the retreat is $765 HST already included. This cost includes your 2.5 days of knitting classes, 3 meals per day plus two snacks per day, 3 nights stay at the Northridge Inn and use of most of the resorts ammennities.

If you have any more questions about the retreat please don't hesitate to give me a call at 705-223-8245 or send me an email at stixandstonesnb@gmail.com

Remember, there is only ONE SPOT LEFT so if you are interested or know someone who is then please let me know as soon as possible so that you don't miss out on this event! Remember, it is for knitter's of all skill levels and we already have a variety of skilled knitter's coming along- some who have only knit for a year and others for all their lives. It's not just for the pros- it's for everyone to come and be inspired in to this wonderful and addicting world of colour, texture and fiber. It is going to be truly incredible and inspiration with a fountain of new knowledge and new friends. Us knitter's definitely know how to have a great time.


New Stuff!

We will have our new yarns on display AFTER our knitting retreat- so in just over a week. In addition to the new yarns and booklets.... I have a surprise up my sleeve ;) Keep reading your emails to find out what it is and the fun we will have with it! You will all be the first to be invited to come play with me.... more details to follow soon!

For those of you that haven't been in to the store recently, come in and check out our new set up! I am LOVING it!! The store is very bright and open and everything looks new! We have a new table set up with 20% off weekly and monthly specials which are outlined at the top of this email. In addition to those yarns, there is also an angora yarn on special which is regularly $10 per ball but right now is on for $8.00. We are also clearing out some magazines and pattern booklets for $3-$5 each- come in and check it all out!

I will also update you guys in a few days on the other projects I whipped up this week with my flying fingers!


Thursday night class is still on this coming Thursday the 21st- I will have someone in to cover the class from 5:30 to 7:30 so feel free to pop by if you need some help or want to learn somethin new. Classes are $10 each.

Friday night social is also still on next Friday the 22nd from about 6:00pm to 9:00pm or earlier or later. Come, knit and be social! We tried out my new iced tea pitcher this week and it works like a dream! I may be enjoying it too much but in this heat- the ice is nice.


Have a great weekend everyone and please feel free to email or call me with any questions or concerns you may have about the knitting retreat.... or knitting in general!

Tuesday

Riverstone sweater!

Alright I am JAZZED about this sweater that I just finished! Since I am NOT challenging myself to knit a sweater a month this year, it took me about 2.5 months to finish this one up but to give myself credit, I DID knit a bunch of mini projects in between knitting this one. But now I can't believe I put it off for so long because it is so easy and it is absolutely stunning! To me the colours look like a river! Check out the photos below with a special section on blocking!

The pattern- Ecuador from Ravelry.

Short rows and lace- knit as almost a full circle.
Lace details- very simple and easy style
The back- short rows give the appearance of darts
The "back" is just a rectangle!
Colour options for Shepherd sock!

So I am absolutely in love with this sweater and I'm sure you can see why. I knit this sweater out of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock and used 2 and 1/3 skeins so I have a good amount leftover. This sweater would be fantastic out of any sock weight yarn in variegated, semi tonal or solid colours. The details of this sweater are so simple that even a highly variegated colour won't take away from that, it just adds to it. 

Now... let's talk blocking. I have so many people ask me about blocking like it is a secret club they want to get in to. They lean over, put their hand against their mouth and whisper "Now, do you HAVE to block your sweaters? Like you don't do that right?" WRONG! I ALWAYS block my sweaters! Why? Because, as Lily and I like to say, blocking fixes all problems! Blocking has so many positive attributes- it evens out your stitches giving a nice smooth uniform look, it adds drape to your fabric which is crucial in a sweater like this, it can add extra length and it softens your work up like you wouldn't believe! So here's how it's done...

Step 1: Using a no rinse wool wash, such as Eucalan, soak your garment in lukewarm water for 20-30 minutes. 

Step 2: Gently lift your garment out of the water *DO NOT PULL IT OUT* this will cause your piece to stretch. Gently squeeze out the piece over your sink or bathtub *DO NOT EVER RING IT OUT!*

Gently Squeeze
Step 3: Lay your piece flat on a towel, then roll it up in to a log

Lay flat
Start rolling the towel up

Should finish as a log form
Step 4: Kneel on the log to squish out even more excess water- doing this helps your piece to dry faster and it won't be as weighed down by water when moving it from place to place. 

Kneeling to squeeze out excess water

Step 5: Transfer your piece to a flat surface covered by a towel or a blocking board. Lay it flat to the dimensions your pattern specifies and pin it in to place and leave it to dry overnight- sometimes it can take two full days for your piece to dry. If you hate the way it turns out, you can repeat block just try not to really stretch your piece unless the pattern calls for it.

Lay it flat and pin to specified dimensions

Fork pins are great for blocking!
And there you have it folks! That's blocking! Try it after you finish your next project! Even scarves, hats, mitts, socks... anything can benefit from doing this! There are many different ways to block- this method is the soaking method, one of the most commonly used. There is also steam blocking which we will cover another time. But whatever you do, DO NOT EVER IRON YOUR KNITS!! EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is just bad news all around and it never ever works out EVER! 

Alright! Happy knitting all!

Saturday

Summer knitting!

Ok, I hear this all the time "I don't knit in the summer!" Why is that? People try and tell me because it's too hot outside... well.... don't knit in the blazing sun! Most of us have air conditioning or some sort of equivalent to keep us cool while working on our little projects. I think of summer as the best time to knit and yes I am the crazy sitting on the beach knitting, no big deal. Here's why: You can work on projects for Fall and Winter and by the time the season rolls around, your projects will be ready to wear and enjoy! There are some incredible patterns for Spring and Summer tops and accessories done out of lightweight fibers such as cotton, linen, silk, rayon, viscose and bamboo most of which provide a silky and drapey fabric- perfect for hot summer days. Here's a few little projects to peak your summer knitting interest...

Cotton tank top and mohair shrug
DK Cotton summer Shrug


Kayla Shrug with Pima Cotton sport

Americo Egyptian Cotton lace
Classic Elite Firefly- Linen and Viscose



Americo Linen Cordon- Linen, cotton, silk.


My summer hat! Knit with the Magic loop technique.

Best way to knit in the round! No dpn's needed!



The funky beret style- lightweight and lovely.(Outside)
The lace makes this hat reversible! (Inside)

Classic Elite Classic Silk- Cotton, Silk and nylon in 5 colours- $12 per ball, 1 ball for a hat!
Inspired yet? No? Well, I can't wait to show you all this AMAZING short sleeved/short rowed sweater I am just finishing up now! I will block it this weekend and post it next week! You will LOVE it!

Happy knitting!

Friday

World Wide Knit in Public day!

Saturday June 2, 2012 is world wide knit in public day! At least the North Bay chapter :) Join the North Bay Hand Knitter's Guild as they take over the downtown farmer's market from 8am to 1pm and across the street in the plaza in front of city hall from 10am to 1pm! Alternate location in case of rain is in the North Bay Public Library. Bring your own chairs and snacks and of course, your knitting!! It's a fun family event and all ages and skill levels are welcome to come and knit! Let's shed even more light to this fantastic craft we all love so much! 

In celebration of Knit in Public day, we have a coupon!! Print it off and use it all day Saturday June 2, 2012 until 5:30pm!!
















If it's nice outside then I will sit in the front of my store and knit. I meet many interesting people that way. If it's not nice... well I'll do my part by knitting in public in the warmth of my store! But I do plan to hang out with the Farmer's Market crew for awhile before heading over here to open at 10:00am on Saturday. Come and join us or stop by to say hello! 

Enjoy your weekend and happy knitting!