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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!
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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.

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.

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?


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?)

http://www.londonrubber.com/stamps/about.asp

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.

The Partridge Family, “Shopping Bag”
The Loop, “Deluxe, Locally Sourced, Hand Stamped Bags”
Connexion: Highly Collectable Shopping Bags

Early tomorrow morning, Thursday September 10th, tune in to CTV in Halifax to see Mimi on the morning show, Breakfast Television. She is probably going to try to teach one of the hosts to knit, in record time.  This will be live, so anything could happen! Very exciting. Just don’t forget to set your alarm.

Revolution baby blanket

Revolution baby blanket in progress

My friend is having a baby this summer and I wanted to make a blanket that was quick and easy, without being too boring. Too much to ask? I was looking at the fun designs of British math geeks Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer (Woolly  Thoughts). I had a hard time deciding which of their intriguing patterns to go with, but thanks in part to the projects posted on Ravelry, I chose “Revolution”.

A couple of dozen people had posted Revolution on Ravelry and many talked about how easy it is. Looking at the images I felt that it must be fairly simple, but my mind just couldn’t grasp how exactly the funky jagged spiral effect was created. I  purchase and downloaded the detailed, colourful pattern booklet and began to study it. Indeed once you read the instructions and get started, it’s blessedly simple to do. This is a fun pattern, a way to make garter stitch interesting! I’m using Estelle’s organic Cloud Cotton, which itself is a delight to work with. This is going to be a lucky baby, if I may say so myself.

Denise Interchangeable needles are made for this project!

One of the things that is making this project so enjoyable for me is my Denise Interchangeable Needle set.  It’s like the Denise kit was made for this kind of project. The blanket is a circle but you are only ever knitting one “wedge” at a time. Stitch holders are important, and as the segments of the blanket get bigger, you would need to use multiple circulars or lengths of yarn as stitch holders. With the Denise set, I just add lengths of cable and carry on. Most of the time the same needle I am knitting on is acting as a stitch holder for another part of the blanket.

Denise needle sets

We love the Denise Interchangeable company not just because of their products, but because they are a small company with a great customer service ethic.  The product itself is made with a conscious effort to support local (to Denise) manufacturing. We are always delighted to chat with them and they are incredibly friendly and helpful. And how many big corporations would send a package in the mail looking like this? (Yes those are individual postage stamps.) We love Denise.

Simpsons stamps

This year’s NSCAD Wearable Art Show is scheduled to take place next Wednesday evening on Granville Square.  The square will be transformed into a canopied gallery and performance venue. The show promises to be a fabulous and fascinating evening of avant-garde fashion and art. Tickets are $15 in advance (available at Venus Envy or on the NSCAD art supply store). Proceeds from the event will go to the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia and to the Wearable Art Scholarship Fund. See you there!

Cathy is merriment
Mimi is starlings
Morgan is pomoboho
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