Friday, March 28, 2008

focusing on the postive

I was going to complain about Mother Nature's newest attempt to bleach my island. ...but considering the weather conditions that others have had to contend with recently I thought the post in poor taste. Instead (and because I was unable to conduct a photo shot) I offer a piece of prose for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

A secret
Couple hood demands compromise and adaptation: odd behaviours, unusual habits are overlooked or tolerated.

My husband, Byron could write a manual on the proper care and feeding of a knitter or at least the proper care and feeding of this knitter.

Our union meant that he was forced to learn how to live with a knitter. He had to adjust to life among the yarn. He was a quick study.

He learnt that sharing the sofa with knitting needles was dangerous and required a degree of caution. He learnt to look before he leapt.

He grew use to seeing my hands tangled in yarn as we watched TV. He grew sick and tired of the soothing click. He cleverly devised a plan to untangle my hands. He instituted the lights out policy. When he turned out the lights he taught me that that was my clue to separated myself from my knitting in favour of cuddle time.

When friends enquired about my knitting he learnt to dismiss their investigation by saying, “Just another sweater.”

Byron supported my habit. He bought me knitting gadgets, knitting baskets, knitting magazines, and knitting books. He feed my need. He bravely ventured into yarn shops. There he skilfully helped me locate dye lot numbers. He was a non-knitter but he loved a knitter.

The way I see it, the world should be divided into three categories. There should be the knitter, the knitter lover, and the non-knitter.

Knitters are weird. We all know we are - some of us weirder than others. Knitter-lovers are willing to overlook or tolerate our unusual knitterly ways.

When I was a newlywed, I wasn’t that unusual. I didn’t have an enormous knitting stash. I simply bought what I needed when I needed it. I didn’t hide my stash in odd places in our apartment. I didn’t name my yarn balls or sleep with them. No, that came later…. I’m joking.

Looking back, I would describe myself as an ordinary knitter: ordinary in all ways but one. Byron and I shared a secret as knitter to knitter-lover. A secret I will reveal to you now. I never used a pattern. There I said it. It’s out.

I knew that was weird. I knew other knitters used them. My Mom insisted that I use them. She taught me how to follow one. Yet I stubbornly refused to use this skill.

I knew Byron was aware that most knitters used patterns. A knitter raised him. His Mom had patterns – I didn’t.

Sure I had knitting magazines and knitting books but I read the articles I cared nothing for the patterns. Sometimes they supplied inspiration but beyond that nothing. Byron must have noticed that I never reproduced a single image from any book or magazine. He must have. Yet he never said a word. Our secret was safe.

Occasionally I would wear one of my sweaters to work. Sometimes I received a compliment but thankfully I worked with non-knitters. They didn’t ask or care about the pattern.

Then one day out of the blue a co-worker enquired, “Hey, Leanne where do you buy your patterns?” She tossed it off…just like that…innocently. Luckily we were alone.

“I don’t buy any.” I replied in a hushed voice. Trying to be calm. Trying to be casual.

“Oh, well, I thought you knit.”

“I do.”


“I don’t follow a pattern.” My face reddened.


“You don’t follow a pattern?” She stopped working and froze me with her eyes, “You should be a fashion designer.”

Was she serious? …a fashion designer? …a designer? Me? I was from rural Manitoba…I’d never been to New York or any fashion district. A designer? Me? Her comment was so bizarre…so laughable. I fought hard to suppress a snicker. I couldn’t wait to get home and share this joke with Byron. Oh, those silly non-knitters.

(c) ldyck 03/08

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What time is it?

I was feeling good…yesterday. You see my world has been one of commencement and labour with no end in sight. Writing, knitting these pursuits are not swift. Then yesterday, ah yesterday the sun shone, the birds sang and…and…I finished something (I hope to supply a picture soon). Yes, my smile stretched from ear to ear.
This something, sadly, was not my neighbour’s vest. As you may recall I planned to have the vest finished by Easter. Easter came and went and…I…am…still…working…on…the…front. Okay, I know my neighbour has abandoned all faith in me. Can I blame her? No.
A mutual friend saw me recently. She looked at me, then looked at my hands and said, “So, where’s the vest?” I know she intended that I laugh but I almost cried.
Okay, you think that’s enough. Well, it’s not. Today I looked at the calendar and realized to my horror that ArtCraft opens in three months. I need inventory for May. Soon, very soon, it will be April. I have casted on stitches for a children's sweater: one of many to be knit for May.
Yet again the vest must wait. Maybe I should tell my neighbour to expect the vest around Christmas? Or maybe it’s best just not to mention it at all.
The vest will be finished. I will have inventory. All things will be done. Yes, oh, yes they will.
Happy knitting

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To keep you amused

Oh, those weird and wild knitters. know you're one of least I hope you are I know I am...
For your reading pleasure
I promise I will post again...soon. And no cheating this time.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Mayne Island is the most conservative minded community I have ever lived in. I am not referring to politics, religion or social views. I am referring to consumption. We hold fast to: recycle, reduce, reuse. We give away want we no longer use. I have been the benefactor of many yarn stashes. We all have water metres. Most of us have low-flush toilets. We are rightly proud of our recycling centre. We are a “cool” community in this age of global warming.

Recently, I have become aware of how beneficial this attitude would be in my professional life. Last year I sold my knitting at the Mayne Island Farmer’s Market and at ArtCraft on Salt Spring Island. I participated in fibre festivals. I submitted my designs to magazines and I wrote a learn to knit/pattern book. Well, this year is different. This year I am tired. This year I am struggling with health issues. This year I will conserve.

I have realized that I have a fixed amount of energy. I have decided to focus on the most successful areas. Do what works.

Mayne Island Farmer’s Market is fun but shoppers are looking for deals. They refuse to pay more than $20. (or at least this is what I have found). They want something new to look at each week. Do I spend time hurting my wrists for pennies? Ah, well, this year I have decided the answer is no.

Each year I am very pleased with how well my items sell at ArtCraft. The bonus is that the items can stay there while someone else sells them. This means that I am free to write, knit, design and even…take a break…may be even have lunch. ArtCraft stays.

Fibre festivals are fun. It’s nice to network with other fibre professionals. …but there are expenses involved: hotel, meals, travel. It also means that I am away from my computer, my stash, my muse. …and so little to no fibre festival involvement for me this year.

Designing for magazines is not only fun but it gets my name out there. It helps to draw you to my web site. Once here I am hoping you will stop and shop. Designing for magazines allows me to network from my studio. I like it. It works. It stays.

My learn to knit/pattern book was fun to publish. I am glad I had this opportunity. However, when you commit to self-publishing you must commit your pocketbook and your energies. If, however, you submit your work to a publishing house you gain a team of professionals. Professionals whose job it is to help you sell your book. Hmmm, by myself or with a team…I’m a team player.

My theme this year is to conserve and focus on fun. How would you benefit if you joined me?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New pattern has been added to

I added Byron's sweater to 's "For Men" page.
Happy knitting

Monday, March 17, 2008

new pattern on

Hubby has fine taste. He often treats me to beautiful jewelry: which he has hand picked.

So when I decided to knit him a sweater I knew better than to go off willy-nilly. I knew that I would have to consult with him every step of the way. What type of fibre? We agreed on a cotton/acrylic bend. What colour? Oatmeal What design? I am very proud of our team creation. Did you notice the wide stripe running down one side of the sweater?

The sweater is knit in a combination of Stockinette stitch, seed stitch and rib. This version has a tension of 5 stitches to the inch. The version that you will find in the Knit Together magazine has a tension of 4 stitches to the inch.

I have decided to include both imperial (inches) and metric (centimeters) in this pattern. I intend to add the metric measurements to all of Olavia's hand knitting patterns (

Byron's sweater has been added to the homepage and soon...very soon...(before the end of the week) the pattern will be added to the "for Him" page. If you can't wait that long, you can of course place your order now. The pattern sells for $5. Both an email and print version are available.

I finished knitting the sweater when we were on holidays in Hofsos, Iceland. I am thrilled that I was able to finish it in time to take the photos there. My fingers were working rapidly as I soaked in Hofsos' magic.

Happy knitting

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Kitty Knits

Sammy's repeative cries for food woke me this morning - as they usually do. We are attempting to break him of this bad habit. So far no luck. My cats manipulate me in a myraid of ways. I am owned by them. I am a cat person.

Donna Druchunas' new book Kitty Knits sums it up rather well. There it is on the front cover: "projects for cats and their people". I am my cats person...yes, sir...I am.

The book is full of interesting, fun projects for cats (from a food mat to cat bed) and for their people (from scarves to sweaters). It is a celebration of cats in poetic verse and pattern.

Joey, Sammy, Ticky and I whole-heartedly approve. You see, we all, in our own ways, are engaged in the process of knitting.

As you can see by the above picture, Joey enjoys my knitted sweaters. She sneaks on to my sweater shelves and curls up. There she drifts off to kitty dreamland where mice are plentiful and pats are endless.

Ticky is a fibre snob. His passion is wool. He can't resist a good rub on an undyed skein.

...and frequenters to 's sample pattern page will have noticed the cat wrapped in the purple scarf. Although, Sammy doesn't look like he is taking much pleasure in posing let me assure you that he is interested in each and every photo shot.

Yes, Donna shares many intriguing patterns in her book all designed to get your needles clicking. One of the projects that stood out for me is a felted bag. You see, I have listened with interest as knitters shared their stories of felted projects. I have considered the technique…but…something…I’m not sure…what has stopped me. Donna’s inviting description of this technique has encouraged me to give it a try. Watch this blog…I just may follow through.
Now, please excuse me…someone is demanding my attention.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Usually there is nothing to fear on Mayne Island. It is a peaceful place. No predators more furious than the marauding snug.

Usually I feel comfortable going for walks any time, any where on the island. …just me and the deer.

That was then this is now. What made the difference?
Well, a few weeks ago I went for a walk. A neighbour stopped me.
“Did you know that there has been a cougar spotting?” They enquired.
No, I hadn’t.

Apparently two cougars, somehow sensing that Mayne Island was crawling with deer, had swam from…I don’t know where…somewhere off island…and had come to hunt. Heaven help anyone who gets in their way.
Warning notices have been posted.
Deer are in hiding or…
I haven’t seen a cougar nor do I care to.
They are out there…somewhere…ready to pounce.

Tomorrow: more on cats. I discuss “Knitty Knits”

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I began this blog with one goal in mind: to write every day. Thanks to this blog I reached my goal of completing a novel: Novelty Yarn is a collection of short stories whose central theme is knitting. Now I have once again set out to complete a novel. This time the novel I am writing is more traditional: one story. Short stories are manageable they do require some commitment of time but nothing compared to that required by a novel. It’s much like the difference between knitting a hat and knitting a sweater. So even though I haven’t been writing to you – I have been writing daily (at least). I am pleased to report that I am more than half way towards reaching my goal of 100 pages. Could it be possible that I will reach my goal? I will keep you posted. Your positive thoughts are appreciated – as usual. “What about knitting?” you ask. After all, this is a knitting blog. Well, I am now working on the front of my neighbour’s vest. I am also working on a few other surprises. …but to be honest most of my day is devoted to writing the novel.