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The Maritime Fall Fair wrapped up and one of our regular customers not only won the new lace knitting category, but his self-designed shawl also took the Grand Champion ribbon for best knitted item.

The results of all of the Homemaking Competition categories will be posted eventually on the Fall Fair’s website.

But for now, take this as proof that Richard — known as Samantics in the Ravelry world — took the blue ribbon (except the ribbon is so important, it’s blue and white and red!):


Richard designed this shawl as a gift for his mother, and when he learned about the Fall Fair he decided to enter it. That’s right, he did more than just knit this beautiful item, he designed it from scratch.

Any mother would be thrilled to receive a gift like this from a child, but the prestige of the prize must add value to it in her eyes. Nice work Richard!

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With the municipal election now behind us, whether you are happy with the results, weeping into your coffee, or were too busy getting ready for Nocturne to even notice, it’s a great time to enjoy Halifax as a visitor would, and be reminded of what makes our city such a great place to live in.

The wonderful BC-based and craft-oriented blog Poppytalk is running a series of city guides focused on independent businesses, and gave local blogger and crafter Trudi, of Double Happiness, the task of preparing the Halifax edition. Trudi’s guide debuted this week on Poppytalk, and it’s a thoughtful and beautifully photographed survey of Halifax’s downtown shopping neighbourhoods, including Barrington street, where The Loop gets a nod. Check it out and be inspired!

The combination of the Nocturne art festival and our knit-a-thon was a great way to spend a Saturday evening. It was fun to see how different Barrington Street in downtown Halifax was, transformed by excited crowds discovering art displays and new ways to look at the city.

Thanks to our knitters, we have 26 blanket squares and counting. We’ll be happy to collect any more you are working on, right up until November 20th.

We saw a number of familiar faces during the evening, and many new faces … people who probably wouldn’t normally come into a yarn shop. Mimi, Morgan and Karla spinning in the front window were a real draw though.

Thank you to everyone who contributed some knitting! We’ll give another update later on once we’ve sent all of the donated items off.

I’m loading up on the caffeine a day early, in anticipation of a long fun day of knitting on Saturday. Here are a couple of updates about those two most crucial sources of sustenance: food and yarn.

In food news, we’re happy to say that Ciboulette, our upstairs cafe neighbour, will be open on Saturday at a special time: 5p.m. to midnight, providing hot drinks and the best grilled panini sandwiches to art patrons and knitters.

Ciboulette, as you may know, is the little sister to Chives restaurant. Both specialize in fresh gourmet cooking using local seasonal ingredients. They also make great coffee!

In yarn news, we’ve been receiving shipments every day this week. We are well stocked up on the elusive, increasingly rare alpaca delights from the Susan Andrew collection. Warani, Stella, Gabriella, Inca Gold 100% baby alpaca … we have lots. This entire line is being discontinued, unfortunately, so this is our last or next-to-last shipment of these yarns.

We are preparing some sale bins for the weekend. Yarns with original prices ranging from $5.50 to $12.30 will be on sale for $5.00 and $7.50, helping us make room for all the new yarns.

And Cascade Superwash 220 will be 20% off to celebrate the knit-a-thon projects. (Regular $11.50, sale price $9.20 per 100g ball.)

Hope to see you here!

Our second not-quite-annual charity knit-a-thon is happening in just a few days. Saturday is going to be an exciting day in downtown Halifax.

During Nocturne – Art at Night, all those extraordinary Canadians who enjoy art and culture will be strolling the streets in the crisp fall air, enjoying galleries and art displays until midnight.

At  the same time, The Loop will be overflowing with happy and generous knitters. We encourage you to get out and enjoy some art, and also to stop by The Loop to contribute to our knit-a-thon. (See earlier posts for details.)

Here are some more details about the two projects we are knitting for:

1. Afgans for Afghans

  • What: 6″ knitted squares, in natural fibre yarn.
  • How: Avoid white and light colours; also avoid representational images, national or religious symbols. Feel free to express yourself with stitch patterns beyond garter and stockinette, and with cheerful colours.
  • When: We will happily accept donated squares after the knit-a-thon, up to November 20th.

2. Knitted items for Canadian troops

  • What: Helmet liners, socks.
  • How: See our earlier post for pattern information.
  • When: If you can’t make it to the actual knit-a-thon, or finish your project a little later, you can drop off your contribution for another week: only up until Monday October 27th. The Military Family¬† Resource Centre will be mailing parcels to troops on November 1st, so we want to make sure they get our contributions in plenty of time to include them.

Today we received our shipment of Cascade 220 Superwash in colours specially suited for military projects. We also have a few colours of green, since that is a colour that is valued by Afghans. We’ll be offering a discount on the Superwash 220 on Saturday, for use in knit-a-thon projects.

Just as there are people who do their holiday gift shopping all year round, there are knitters who do the same with their gift projects. I’m not one of them. I begin in October, then knit solidly through to Christmas.

Actually, to be honest, I’m ususally still knitting in January. Yes, I have been known to gift wrap projects while they’re still on the needles (“just to make sure it fits…”), only to take them back once they’ve been opened.

This year, I’m going to take a pragmatic approach and make as many small, simple projects as possible. At the top of my list are knitted cowls/gaiters/neckwarmers. These great quick projects use relatively little yarn, are easily made on a circular needle, and are endlessly variable. I also think this type of scarf is frankly easier to wear and more difficult to lose. If you’re on Ravelry, search for “cowl” patterns, and you’ll find dozens. Here are two I finished recently:

Ilga Leja's Balsam

Ilga Leja's Balsam pattern (available at The Loop), adapted here for a summer version in linen. The original pattern calls for heavy worsted or Aran weight and would be cozy in a soft wool or alpaca blend.

I made blogger (and recent visitor to Nova Scotia) Lolly's Sherbrooke Cowl in slinky soft Urban Silk. Click on the image for free pattern.

I made blogger (and recent visitor to Nova Scotia) Lolly's Sherbrooke Cowl from two skeins of Skacel's pearly soft Urban Silk.

On Saturday October 18th, The Loop will be hosting a charity knit-a-thon in support of Afghans for Afghans, and also in support of Canadian troops stationed overseas.

On their website, you will read that Afghans for Afghans is “a humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and sweaters, vests, hats, mittens, and socks to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.” For this event we are focusing on the knitted blanket squares. We will collect squares and forward them to our friends at Sunrise Mercantile, who will send them along to Afghans for Afghans as part of a larger project they are coordinating.

A blanket I made a few years ago

I’ve heard people express a variety of opinions about Canada’s deployment of military overseas. Whatever one’s opinion on the politics, I like to remember that ultimately the people serving in the armed forces are individuals who are working hard under difficult conditions. The Military Family Resource Centre in Halifax will be sending holiday parcels to local troops stationed overseas, and they will welcome hand-knit socks and helmets liners to include in those parcels.

Sock project information:

If you wish to knit socks for a soldier, please use a superwash fingering weight yarn in a suitable colour: black, grey, olive green, brown, tan. Any basic sick pattern will work. It would be best to choose a size that is going to fit an adult male, though a few pairs for women soldiers would probably be welcome too.

Helmet Liner project information:

Most of the information I’ve found online for helmet liners leads back to this pattern:

http://knitting.about.com/od/hatpatterns/a/helmetliner.htm

An adapted version of this pattern is available as a free download from Ravelry, at this page:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/gussetted-helmet-liner

(You will need to have a Ravelry account to access this page.)

I’ve started the pattern and am going to complete it using the gussetted version from Ravelry.

Project Materials:

Afghans for Aghans specifies that they only accept products made from natural fibres like wool. Blends of wool and alpaca or other natural fibres will provide warmth and durability under harsh conditions.

You may have something in your stash that will work well for blanket squares or a helmet liner, or some sock yarn that’s been hiding at the back of a basket for some time. We will accept donations of wool yarns too (we already have a bin of wool donated by our customer Judith).

We have ordered in a shipment of Cascade Superwash 220 in colours suitable for both of these projects, and we will be selling it at a special discounted price for the knit-a-thon.

Cathy is merriment
Mimi is starlings
Morgan is pomoboho
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