Have you booked your place at the 2011 Maritime Spinners Retreat?

Mimi and I just did.

This year’s Retreat is being hosted by Gaspereau Valley Fibres & The Potluck Spinners; it promises to be a real treat. The theme this year is ‘Spin Local’. At last year’s closing banquet is was suggested that the theme is really going to be Spin Local, Drink Local but I’m not sure that anyone else will remember that…it was a jolly evening!
2010’s Retreat was themed ‘Spin Wild!” focusing on wild fibre and art yarns so no surprise, I had a great time. Last year’s PEI hostesses Louise and Elaine are packing along their feathers and we three will still be spinning slightly off kilter this year (I know I can’t help it). We hope you’ll join us, especially with the event (at Old Orchard, Greenwich NS) being so close to Halifax.
You can find more information and the nuts and bolts of booking your spot at the official retreat blog by clicking here.
Here are some fun moments from last year:

Games included forcing ‘straight-laced’ spinners to spin a single blindfolded…and it was a race!

I bought a lot from our fellow vendors…The Loop made money that weekend, but I spent a lot of mine.
Mimi and I taught mini sessions playing upon our wild theme; Knitting Without a Map and Freeform Crochet.
On Day 2, fully into the swing of things, we were encouraged to wear wild outfits…luckily I had brought my Noro Tutu. Oops, I guess I never blogged that project.

We had a great time as vendors. Hope to see you in the valley this year!

David sports a crocheted rainbow beanie with giant pink tourie on top. He has the best seat in the house for the 2011 Halifax Pride Parade.

Rainbows abound, and giant ric-rac sprouts twisted lengths of coloured crepe paper. They reach towards the sky optimistically.
Ilga Leja’s “Earth Maiden” sampled in Kauni’s Effekt yarn, colourway “EQ” looks right at home. Draped over a triangular metal form it makes a cheerful yet sophisticated statement despite being placed in the background, away from direct sunlight.

“Better Together” is the motto this year.

The formally longest scarf in the world cascades down the back wall, embraces the vivid yellow Judy (repeatedly) and coils into a tumshie seat at her feet.

The swift kicks up a breeze when used which sends the paper garlands dancing.

This year, Lamby wears Red Velvet Platformed Stevie Boots, an Art Yarn Necklace and Blue Feathered False Eyelashes.

Pride Week is coming to Halifax and it’s Pride Parade is coming to Barrington Street. This is always a treat and shops along the route try to join in.
I see it as an excuse to gussy up the window.
Lamby sees it as a chance to dive into my shoe closet.
Here’s what happened last year.

I posted this late. oops.

I often ask myself “Do I need another reusable Market Bag?”. I always end up answering myself “Yes.” I love receiving them from foreign friends and they are a great thing to send away in return….but I crochet mine. They are a snap to craft and take just a few hours to complete. I like to add inner pockets, trick bottoms (so that the bag is self-containing) and special considerations for different kinds of groceries. For me, the Market Bag is a great go-to gift because it’s quick and easy to make, usually only takes one ball, requires no special care for the recipient to worry about, and it does any kind of person on your gift list (note: this is an excellent thing to give someone you don’t know very well. It’s also great for someone you do know, but don’t really like). Everyone is always glad to get a bag, and one more in the bottom of your purse can’t do you any harm either.
This summer The Loop is running a new workshop for Crocheters. In one session we will make a class full of greener than green bags for our summer marketing (or we will at least cover all the bases and get most of the project crocheted).
The crochet pattern for this workshop is a classic. The format for the pattern has been in use here for over 100 years. You may come across Victorian versions on the internet, or spot a lookalike on Road to Avonlea reruns*.

The pattern is designed to use a certain amount of cotton (keeping the materials at one ball) but additions such as wider straps and an attached change purse will be covered in the class.

The bag pictured (my “Posh Nosh Fennel Carrier”) used one ball of Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK, which has about 120m to the ball. Each colour in this line is plant dyed. This pretty blue was achieved with indigo. Indigo is the Pluto of the Colour Spectrum, poor little guy.

[From The Loop Website]Mesh shopping bags–called “filoches” in French–are a chic, practical, and environmentally friendly way to carry your produce home from the market. They’re also a great introduction to crocheting in rounds. In this workshop, you’ll learn how crochet can be used to make both firm, stable fabrics and open, stretchy ones–while making a market bag of your own.

Instructor: Morgan Forrester

2 hours

Tuesday, July 12th, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Thank you Chives & Ciboulette for the photo props. I was very glad to use the fennel; very posh nosh.

*Aunt Olivia crochets throughout the series, and uses a white version of these bags to carry groceries for the Dale homestead back from Lawson’s. This was obviously my inspiration as are the Dales; Yorkshire and Jasper.

There are lots of ways to shop the city whether you’re a cruiser or a native Haligonian. Remember that most small, independent stores are busy sourcing and stocking local products for visiting shoppers. It’s a great time to buy products from your area that might not be available during the off season months. I pick up Maritime gifts now, to save for mailing at Christmas.

Local Artisans have been stockpiling work for this season, so expect to see new works in all the shops and galleries. Farmers are busy and are hearing back from mills, so there will be new local fibres at The Loop and lots of goodies at the Farmer’s Markets. You may even need to take a bag to carry it all.

Staycationers should still do their research. Pick up the Coast Guides as well as the new local guidebooks and maps. The Loop is included in the MUG (Modern Urban Guide) and the new I Love Local HFX brochure. Watch for I Love Local HFX events online and throughout the downtown.

There was something fishy going on at Classic Elite Yarnsin ’86

Strong branding prevails, and for Fall 2011 Classic Elite is offering beautiful blends of yarn in predominately natural colours. As always, the collection has been worked into very usable garments and accessories. They are highly wearable, even if you have fish hands to accommodate (though you may have trouble working cables).
Each new season The Loop carries a selection of their pattern books. These books are beautifully photographed and are styled in a very North East American way, which is perfect for Maritime Canadian knitting.

Last summer we were tagged by mystery yarn bombers. We loved it!
Your new Challenge: Get us this summer with a romantic clue to your identity.

Are these our Bombers?

On the Ferris wheel of Zaub it’s an up and down ride. We love Schoppel Wolle’s Zauberballs. We carry all the types we can get in. Straight up Zauberball is the single ply fingering weight. Crazy (which does not mean that the other Zaubs are in any way sane) is the 2 ply fingering weight, plying two singles at different points in their colour sequence. We have also carried their lace weight which is akin to the non-crazy but still coo coo sock weight. We are now carrying their 6 ply (Stärke 6) which is a sport weight which uses the same plying technique as the Crazy sock weight.

Everyone loves Zauberballs and we have several customers who are on our books to receive ‘Zaubalerts’ when new colours come in. Trouble is it’s hard to get. If you covet this yarn too, consider joining our Zaub Club, adding your name to our list of Zauberball lovers. You’ll get a call as soon as it arrives and can have first pick of the colourways.

The Loop has been on Barrington Street for over five years now, and from the way some media outlets talk about the street, you’d think that was a miracle of longevity. But I would like to contrast that with one of our local suppliers we’ve relied on since before the store even opened in 2005. I’m talking about a company that has been active in Halifax since 1884. If you are racking your brain to try to figure out who could have been supplying yarn or craft supplies since that long ago, never mind: I’m referring to London Rubber Stamps.

Since November 2005, thousands of paper shopping bags have been carried out the door of The Loop, and each one was stamped by hand by us, using custom stamps made by London Rubber Stamps. LRS is currently located out on the admittedly dreary industrial stretch of Kempt Road in north Halifax. But back in the 1880s, they were located in downtown Halifax. On their website they have a well-written and fascinating account of the business’ history, with a couple of nice vintage photos of their former downtown locations. (Can you recognize either location?)


When we were planning to open the store, we considered what kind of shopping bags we would use. We chose paper bags in part because they are more environmentally friendly than plastic, and also because we knew they would fit with our “DIY” ethic since we could hand-stamp each and every one. Sometimes when we are tasked with stamping a big pile of bags, we might wish we had taken a different approach – but when it comes down to it, we are glad we chose this route. We’re also glad that the small amount of business we provide to London Rubber Stamps is a part of their long history in this city.

Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue”
Manos Del Uruguay yarns, Solids and Variegated
Connexion: Blue…kind of
Cathy is merriment
Mimi is starlings
Morgan is pomoboho
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