Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The last rose of summer

As we move dreamily from July to August, I gear up for what promises to be a busy August. I have begun work on my autumn collection. I have been successful in selling one of my new designs to a knitting magazine and I will let you know more as "t" s are crossed and "i" s are dotted. There are other surprises coming this fall as well so please stay logged on to: www.oknitting.com

Monday, July 30, 2007


In the bird world the male birds are the colourful ones.

This guy has no hope in blending in with the background. How particle is that bright blue neck or those long green feathers? He has no choice. A peacock is a peacock is a peacock.
In the human world women are the flamboyant ones. Men demand certain things from their clothes: usability and practicality. Women ...well, women are stuck with bright blue necks and long green feathers.
This weekend I shopped for my trip. I was looking for a water-repellent, wind breaker and a pair of hiking boots. I searched through tons of woman's fashion stores: rack after rack - shelf after shelf. Then I tried unisex stores. Finally, I did find a pair of hiking boots...they were guys size 7 1/2. I have yet to find a jacket.
Did we truly ask for this?
Please hand me that yarn and those needles, in the knitting world at least I have some say.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Great Escape

Finally, I am escaping the North American broaders. Where I'm I going. Well, you'll have to guess. I invite you to join me over at Leanneism ( a blog accessible from www.oknitting.com 's link page)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Knitting along to this...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Help, I'm buried in paper

It is the bane of my existence. And yet the stuff of my life. Without it my life would be far less rich. And yet the sight of it makes me sick. Let's not even talk about how many trees had to be killed for my obsession.
In my never-ending pursuit to control paper I have found something.
What exactly?
I will share it with you. Please visit Leanneism (a blog accessible from www.oknitting.com 's link page) See you there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Art or Craft

"Am I knitting art or craft?" It's a question I have grabbled with more years than I have been a knitwear designer.
Mayne Island has a large population of artists. Some of my artist friends have encouraged me to identify myself as an artist. Others have encouraged me to take pride in the title of "artisan".
I belong to two art councils.
One of the benefits of membership is that new questions are asked, old answers are challenged, and new answers are supplied. If you are open to it you may just learn something.
The Salt Spring Arts Council produces a fine newsletter. It is entertaining and informative. Flipping through the pages I finally found an answer to my question.

The article was finely penned by Gary Cherneff. In it Mr. Cherneff explains: "Craft is about skill and technology and as such we judge it rather objectively because standards are often codified and do not contain those tricky artsy terms such as meaning or symbolism etc. which is why it is easier to understand. Art is about knowing what you want to say and being successful at saying it. We judge it subjectively. It is harder to understand because we have to think for ourselves about meaning etc. and have to spend time learning the language of art. Both art and craft extraordinary commitment to do well."
The last sentence stayed with me. "Both art and craft extraordinary commitment to do well."
I think because I was surrounded by talented artists I put art on a different level than craft. Growing up I was surrounded by craft. It was produced because it was useful. Its creation did not seem to me treasured. Woman knit and sewed but no one took time to watch them. It was work. Work got done. Art, on the other hand, was largely foreign to us. It was for the rich. You had to practice it. It was taught in school. Adults spent time learning it. Craft came naturally: learnt by the young.
So within me was the thought that if I identified my work as craft I would undervalue it. I fought to fit my square peg "craft" self in the round "art" space. It was not a comfortable fit. Log on to my web site: www.oknitting.com and you will see craft.
I am however capable of art. My writing fits Mr. Cherneff definition. As well some of my designs fit into the definition. Case in point...
Freya's Necklace
In Norse legend Freya is the Goddess of fertility.
Freya's necklace was made from the Milky Way. It's beauty unmatched.
In this design, Mayne Island fibre producer Hatake's snowy white mohair captures The Milky Way.
Donning Freya's necklace wraps you in the garb of motherhood: motherhood's legends, spirituality and societal role. Beginning at the collar let us explore these connections.
Nature spiritualists worship Gia (mother earth) by forming a scared circle. The collar is a large unbreakable circle worked on a circular needle.
Now to the breastplate:
Mother begins with birth. The breastplate resembles a receiving blanket worked in miniature. The breastplate is worked on two straight needles.
Finally the I-cord ties:
Mothering is the act of nurturing. Mothers nurture mind, spirit, and body. If you are of a certain age, you may recall wholesome feasts prepared by your apron-adored mother. The apron was her uniform of office.
I-cord ties lead from the bottom corners of the breastplate around the hips to the centre of the lower back where they are secured apron-like. The I-cord is worked on two double pointed needles.
This and other of Leanne Dyck's designs will be displayed during the Mayne Island Fall Fair August, 18th.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Today the sun is shining and the world seems full of possibilities.

Maybe too many possibilities...
You see I have begun work on www.oknitting.com 's autumn offerings. ...a late start. Ideally this work should begin in May. However, I wanted to wait until I had all the inventory for ArtCraft finished. This done I immediately started working on autumn 2007.
It is enjoyable work. Nothing beats the slow unfolding of a new design.
It resembles a maze.
I usually begin with a type of road map. A rough sketch of what the design will look like. This map is drawn after I have researched fashion trends and is a combination of my own desires and the demands of fashion. While working the muse whispers in my ear and so I may continue following my map or listen to the muse. The choice is mine.
Possibilities are endless. What will the bottom of the sweater look like? Sleeves? Collar? Each decision is a turn in the maze.
Sometimes I get lost in the maze. When this happens there is no way out but to shelf the design.
Sometimes when I complete the maze I am not completely happy with the end result. Once again I shelf the design. Hoping that one day my adventures in this maze may lead to a much better outcome.
Sometimes the adventure is a joy: not only do I enjoy my time in the maze but I also grow as a designer. And, of course, the best outcome of this success is that I can wear my triumph.

Wish me luck in my adventures through my current maze.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't panic

This morning I woke to the sound of the fog horn. As I was half dazed, it sounded to me like it was going off every 15 minutes. It is a romantic sound. When I first moved to Mayne Island I thrilled to the sound. ...but that was before. Before I truly knew what it meant.
What does it mean?
Fog horns sound when the island is enveloped in fog. When the island is enveloped in fog it is dangerous to be on the ferry. Things are hard to see and when things are hard to see you have a tendency to run into them. (Hubby left on the ferry this morning.)
Furthermore, if it is dangerous to be on the ferry then chances are that the ferry may not run. If the ferry does not run then it is hard to get off the island...if not impossible.
Now normally I wouldn't care if I could get off. I am happy here. Frankly there is no other place I would rather be. However, when the fog horn sounds I think what would happen if I had to get off? What would happen if I had to get off and the island was enveloped in fog? What would happen if I had to get off and the island was enveloped in fog and the ferry did not run? My mind races. I begin to panic.
Are you unsure of my state of mind? Imagine you are a knitter and you are faced with this...

What did I do next? Well, I searched for a game plan. A way to calm myself and move beyond my fears. Here is what I found...

3)Think positively.
a)Trust in my abilities to cope. I am an intelligent, capable adult.
b)Trust in my neighbours. Trust that if I need help someone will, no doubt, be there to help me.
4)Roll up my sleeves and work towards a solution.

It worked. Of course it did help that the fog horn stopped sounding and the fog is currently clearing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Letting my end down

It just occurred to me that I was not doing my bit as fine upstanding blogger. I have not reported back regarding my excursion to Salt Spring Island. It was successful. I had fun sitting and knitting. The volunteers at ArtCraft could not be nicer. They did their part in making me feel at home. I sat and knit from 10 am to noon on Friday. It was so much fun that I would love to do it again.
Though wet this Saturday's Farmer's Market was still fun.
Here is what another Mayner did in the rain...

It's a good day to wash your tail.

Out of North America

I am planning to escape North America...or at least for a few days. I am rather excited. I invite you to share in the excitement by attempting to guess just where I will be travelling. So for those of you playing along at home please log on to: Leanneism (a blog accessible from www.oknitting.com 's link page).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

demo at ArtCraft

If all goes well, I will be knitting at ArtCraft on Salt Spring Island this Friday. I invite you to pay me a visit. Happy knitting


Thank you for your help yesterday. We were able to find a spinner. It should be a fun demonstration. Make sure to attend the Mayne Island Fall Fair: August 18 at the Agricultural Society grounds. There is always lots to do and see.
In fact I found this when I googled: http://www.mayneisland.worldweb.com/Events/FairsExhibitions/
Other discoveries...colour...

Both of these sweaters were knit using www.oknitting.com 's Puddin' Pie pattern http://www.oknitting.com/patterns_children.htm

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Do you spin?

The organizers of the Mayne Island Fall Fair are currently looking for a spinning wheel jockey. Ideally the spinner would also be able to cart. If you are or know someone who can be on Mayne Island on Saturday, August 18th from 10 am to 3 pm please email me: leanne@oknitting.com Subject line: spin Thank you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Last weekend and this week

The Farmer's Market continues to be enjoyable. Who knew that being surrounded by creative people in a beautiful, historic park while the sun gently wraps everyone in its rays would be so much fun?
The church fair was even more fun than last year. If that could be possible. I found this great deal on knitting needles. All the knitting needles I can carry for a dollar. What knitter could pass that up. In fact the clerks at the booth took turns coming over to me saying, "Come on Leanne take more." They know my weakness. Now I have enough knitting needles to build myself a castle. Remember those days when I dreamed of being a minimalist. I was delusional.
This week the mission is to prepare for my demo on Friday. Oh, you haven't heard, I will be giving a tiny demo at ArtCraft on Salt Spring Island. If you haven't been to ArtCraft you owe it to yourself to go. And when your there say, "Hi" to me. I'll be the one in the chair with the knitting needles.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Play on

Yet another clue in the never-ending quest to discover just where I will be flying to. One thing we do know it will be outside North America. To play along, log on to Leanneism (a blog accessible from www.oknitting.com 's link page).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Church Fair

Okay, so this post is not really knitting related. Please excuse me. However, it is a big deal on Mayne Island. Everyone gets involved. You may even say, "It knits the island together." I know: groin. Anyway, just a short note to say, "You are invited to the Mayne Island Church Fair. A great time to be had by all. Games for the young and not so young. Bargains. Entertainment. Good Food." This Saturday at Mary Magdalene Church from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm. See you there. Actually you may want to swing around to the Farmer's Market first buy some knitting or a few books and then trip on down to the Fair. There I have your day planned. You can thank me later. : )

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Meet me at Leanneism

Leanneism is a blog accessible from www.oknitting.com 's link page.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Please join me (Leanneism is a blog accessible from www.oknitting.com 's link page)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Knitting demo at ArtCraft

My link to you is still very shaky. Although a valuable piece of equipment did arrive today. I thought things were looking up but Hubby assures me that not much has changed. When I asked him how long we would have to endure this on again - off again relationship with the web Hubby reminded me that we do live on island time. Well wishes and finger crossing are encouraged and appreciated.
Next Friday, July 20th I will be knitting at ArtCraft on Salt Spring Island. ...a little demo. If you are on Salt Spring Island on Friday please drop by and say, "Hi".
I will back on Mayne Island on Saturday for the Farmer's Market.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I'll take the good with the bad

The good: Finally a picture of our wonderful tent. If you go to the Farmer's Market (each Saturday) look for the beautiful blue table cloth. That's Celia's table cloth protected by my quick - quick down canopy. In the booth you will find the work of artisans, artists, and authors. There are two of us sometimes three. Come on over and say, "Hi".
The bad: We are in the process of transiting into a new Internet provider - Island wide. So far it has not been a smooth transition. I had to wait until the afternoon to find my world link. That combined with the heat, combined with missing the Winnipeg Folk Festival makes for a very unhappy Leanne.
Focus...focus...breath...breath...ah the Farmer's Market...ah only two more baby sweaters.
Keep cool my friends.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Play along

It took me long enough but I have finally add a clue. Please log on to Leanneism (a blog accessible from www.oknitting.com 's link page)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Oven mitts

Of course in a perfect world all my patterns would be error free. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world and as they say, "to err is human"
As a knitwear designer I really appreciate knitters contacting me if they encounter problems with one of my patterns. It is a win - win situation. It helps you because then you get an answer to your dilemma. It helps me because it allows me to rectify an error or omission as well it helps me to improve my pattern writing skills.
I just got off the phone with such a nice knitter. She was eager to knit my Oven Mitt pattern. A pattern she found in the Accord Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar (June 20, 2007). However, she thought they seemed long. The pattern asks you to work your knitting to a length is 7 feet. Well this is an error. The total length should be 3 feet. I apologize for this error. I am thankful that the knitter gave me this opportunity to make this correction.
As well the type of yarn I used was cotton. (I used Paton's "Sugar n Cream" when I did a search for that yarn I found this: http://search.ebay.com/sugarn-cream_W0QQfnuZ1QQfsooZ1QQfsopZ3QQsatitleZsugarQ27nQ20creamQQxpufuZx)
I would caution against using acrylic.
If you encounter a problem, dilemma with an Olavia's hand knitting pattern please email me: leanne@oknitting.com I will be pleased to help you.


Today's activities are preparing for the Farmer's Market (Saturday, 10 am to 1 pm on the Agricultural Society grounds). Tons of pricing and such.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Saved from the trash

Well things with the cardigan went better than I had hoped. Turns out the problem wasn't really with the end of the trim at all but rather with an area of the trim by the pockets. You see I had been attaching the trim encountered a problem then attempted to correct it. The correction required scissors and I snipped the wrong place. Snip...a hole...hopes dashed. I went to work with a darning needle and left a noticeable mess. All of this came flooding back to me like nausea.
As I was finishing the trim a solution occured to me.
It is amazing the wonders well placed I-cord can create.
I finished the cardigan just in time. This Friday...tomorrow...there is fun to be had the Ag hall (Agricultural Society Hall). The play is called: Mature Subjects Matter: a comedy starring Arvid Chalmers. Arvid is known for his racy sense of humour. I can't wait. Doors open at 7:30 pm. The play starts at 8:00pm. Tickets are $15. You know what I'll be wearing. See you then.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cool Americans

We are feeling the heat on my dear island. Today and tomorrow will reach the mid twenties Celsius. I do not do well in heat. My whole character changes. I am no longer the demure, polite Canadian. Some monster takes over. I spit, growl and sneer. It is best not to enter my cave.
So I am in need of cool.
I have lowered my studio shutters and the window and door are open. All in the hopes of creating a cool, dark place. So far so good.
The need for coolness and the fact that it is Independence Day has seeded today's post: Cool Americans.
This award goes to a handful of Americans.
Alan Alda: as a young teen-ager I had a huge crush on his character Hawkeye Pierce. I continue to learn much from Mr. Alda's protrail of this character.
President Abraham Lincoln: visionary. On a visit to the states I visited President Lincoln's monument. I would still be there if not for Hubby.
A kind lady at a bluegreass festival: I have no musical ability. Hubby plays bluegrass guitar and sings. Once at a bluegrass festival we meet an American couple: he played guitar - she played autoharp. She urged me to give her autoharp a try. I countered fearing I would damage it. She politely refused to listen to any of my objections and lay her baby in my arms. After a brief introduction, like magic I was creating music.
Paul: I meet Paul at the Victoria Fibre Festival. He recently sent me an email recounting a brief tale. He said that he had searched for woolen pants. Unfortunately he was unable to purchase said pants. Desprite he set out to create his own. The result:
I wish you, my cool American friends, a happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Treasure hunting

I made a little more headway in unearthing items from the closet. I have found information (magazine articles) dating back to 2003. That's rather odd because I have only occupied this space since (approximately) 2005. So I guess what I did when I moved in was simply shove everything into this closet. The closet its self is not that big. One side has a rod the other shelves. I have a vision of my yarn taking over this space. I have visions of organization. Delusional? Maybe.

Please notice that purple lump at the bottom of the shelf. It is a beautiful Stockinette stitch cardigan. I have been in need of a cardigan and had forgotten all about it. I even designed it with pockets. Smart knitwear designer.
The only thing that was not smart is that instead of picking up stitches for the trim. I simply knit a trim separately. Not a problem. Could work nicely. Only trouble is I didn't measure twice and cut once. And so now I am stuck with this problem.

There is hope. Trust me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Inspired by the ugly

I once read this piece of advice: keep a record of your design mistakes.
Following this advice I have flung mistake after mistake into a closet housed in my studio. This Canada Day long weekend, dressed in red and white, I have unearthed these mistakes.
Mistake number one: My attempt to experiment with something that scares me: colour.

Unfortunately the results were less then desirable. So flick into the closet.
Unearthing the mistake lead to the musings of the muse.



Much better.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Looking for Canadians

If you are looking for Canadian bloggers: http://www.ringsurf.com/netring?ring=canfibre;action=list
If you are looking for Canadian "yarny" retailers: http://www.cgknitters.ca/retailers.html
If you are looking for Canadian knitwear designers and artisans: http://www.canknit.com/members.html
If you are looking for me: log on to Leanneism (a blog accessible from the www.oknitting.com link page) for my annual Canada Day post and other fun stuff.
Happy Canada!
Give your favourite Canadian a squeeze.
...and keep your stick on the ice (to quote one of my favourite Canadians Red Green)