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

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Donovan, “Mellow Yellow”
Brown Sheep, “Burley Spun”
Connexion: Yellow
Smothers Brothers “Think Ethnic!”
Manos Del Uruguay yarn
Connexion: Ethnic

Display showing Gauge Swatches of Featured Loop Yarns worked over 24 Stitches

Confused by Gauge? Think you can get by without it?  Well, you can’t.  You can conquer it though, and perhaps even learn to love it as we do.

The Loop offers several workshops which cover finding, getting and keeping gauge in knitting.  In truth, we’ll chat about it at any opportunity.

Workshops:

Knitting for Absolute Beginners
Beyond the Basics: A Refresher clinic
Understanding Patterns
Knit a Hat – an introduction to circular knitting

Don’t forget that The Loop offers Private Lessons during store hours. Phone to arrange a time (We remind you that Ciboulette Cafe – is closed Saturday and Sunday)

The Rolling Stones “Black and Blue”
Naturally “Aran Tweed” yarn
Connexion: Black and Blue

This fall we’re showing two new Bulky yarns.  Unfortunately, both ‘Bulky’ and ‘Chunky’ can seem like subjective terms.  I thought I would write a little about our new yarns, Burley Spun, and Grande to explain how chunky chunky is.

The Craft Yarn Council tops out their Weight System with their 5th and 6th categories; Bulky and Super Bulky.

The Bulky category comes after Medium (worsted and aran yarns) and includes Chunky, Craft, and Rug Yarns.  Their gauges over 4″ of stockinette stitch should work out to 12-15 stitches.  For most knitters these yarns require needles from 5.5mm to 8mm.  Crocheters are advised to use a 6.5mm to a 9mm hook.

Super Bulky is the heaviest category and comes after Bulky.  This whimsical title is applied to Roving, but also to Bulky yarn. ?!?!?!  Confusing or what?  Best to focus on gauges.  The CYC describes Super Bulky as having a gauge of 6-11 stitches (in 4″ worked in stockinette stitch).  These yarns should be worked with needles larger than 8mm (15mm is the biggest needle in most shops.  The Loop carries these sizes and does get in circular Addi needles in sizes over 15mm.  We can always special order these for you!)  Crocheters should use a hook size greater than a 9mm.  I would advise using the biggest hook you feel comfortable with.

Our first new Bulky yarn comes from Schulana.  Grande comes in brightly coloured 50g balls.  It provides 9 stitches over 4 inches, using 12.75mm needles.  Bouncy, soft, and fun to work with, Grande looks great in textured stitches and cables.  It’s 2 plies also make it look accomplished in plain knitting.
The Loop is thrilled to provide free patterns with the purchase of a 50g ball.  Thrilled, because Schulana has put together a free booklet of four smashing hat patterns.  Just take a look!  Each hat takes just one ball.  You can find a growing gallery of these projects at Ravelry.
Visit the Grande Hat Gallery Here:
Brown Sheep yarns are a firm favourite with knitters, and a new addition to The Loop.  Our first yarn from this company is their heaviest offering, Burley Spun.  In skeins of 226g, Burley Spun’s single ply looks a bit wild and untamed.  It also looks like good fun, and I can’t wait to make an oversized winter cowl in one of the super saturated colours.  We will also be receiving Burley Spun in Handpainted colourways which will look stunning in plain knitting; perfect for beginners and for Holiday knitting.

This yarn is also considered Super Bulky, its gauge at 10 stitches over 4″.  The good people at Brown Sheep would like knitters to try a 9mm needle, but in my books bigger is better.
Learn more about Burley Spun at Ravelry

Stay tuned for a tutorial on using this extraordinary new yarn.

FACT: Canadian, U.S. and British security agencies DO allow knitting materials on board.

With summer here and travellers from all over the world dropping in to The Loop, we are hearing more questions about whether you can fly with your knitting. Opinions and stories vary, but the facts are available on the websites of the agencies that control security. Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. all permit knitting needles. Of course, a traveller will always be subject to the discretion of the individual security officer on the day of travel.  Common sense suggests you opt for smaller-sized needles in bamboo, wood or plastic, rather than 12”-long steel needles or 36”-long circulars. (Socks are the perfect, compact airplane project!)

On occasion someone will say to us, “But I asked and they said no” and it turns out they asked the airline ticket agent or another staff person who is not part of a security authority. We suggest it’s better to ask security staff, if you must, but – since the items are not prohibited – why ask?   Below is a sampling of links to national security agency sites that provide guidance for the crafty traveller, explaining what is and is not restricted from your luggage (checked and carry-on). We hope you will find this little guide helpful. Bon voyage!

Don't lock me in here without my knitting!!

In Canada, it is not the individual airlines, but CATSA – the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority – that determines what can be brought on planes. You know, the same people who have become obsessive about the dimensions of the toiletries you have in your carry-on. Here is a link to their searchable database clearly indicating that knitting needles and crochet hooks can be brought in both carry-on and checked luggage. Thank goodness! Because it’s bad enough to be crammed in that little seat having to watch bad movies. Knitting is what makes it bearable.

The U.S. Transportation Security Agency has an equally civilized policy – you can bring your knitting and your needles, but NOT circular cutters with hidden blades.

Flying to the U.K.? This page tells you the items you can NOT take on board, and there is no mention of any knitting equipment on there. You may be disappointed to learn that you can’t take your meat cleaver on a plane in the U.K. though.

How about New Zealand, the home of so much delectable merino wool? Here is a link to the Kiwi Aviation Security Service’s list of prohibited items, and it contains no mention of knitting needles.

It is harder to find this information for the European Union.  Some EU countries have tighter restrictions and in fact do prohibit knitting needles, while others allow them. Here are two examples of European sites with some info on the topic, showing this variety:

Bratislava, Slovakia (an EU member state) – no inclusion of knitting in their prohibited items list.

Ireland (an EU member state) – specifically states no knitting on board.

So when travelling to Europe it may be important to check with the individual countries’ security authorities.

You may have heard reports of dramatic goings on downtown yesterday. First, a broken water main at the corner of Argyle and Prince Streets flooded the basements of neighbouring businesses and paved adjascent streets with ice and debris. Then, a fire broke out in a historic building on South Street.  Dozens of  firefighters worked for much of the day to contain and extiguish the blaze.

On my way to The Loop today, I dropped in on Sydney Hansen at The Jade W.  This lovely bookshop was at the epicentre of yesterday’s flood: the sheared-off hydrant that started it all was  at the store’s doorstep. Happily–miraculously, even!–flooding at the Jade W was minimal, and limited to the basement.  Sydney was happy to inform me that the situation at the Jade’s sister store, John W.  Doull, down the hill on Barrington, was similarly good.

City crews did a remarkable job of restoring the intersection to working order, and both The Jade and John Doull are open for business.

Meanwhile, on South Street, there were no casualties reported, but a number of residents have lost their homes. The three affected restaurants–The Taj Mahal, Cafe Chianti, and Tomasino’s, will remain closed until further notice, while they assess damage and undertake repairs .  Kudos to the staff of the Westin Nova Scotian for the support they offered to evacuees and emergency responders throughout the crisis.

hbc cowichanThis week saw the launch of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s line of Olympic-themed sportswear in honour of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. But one garment in the collection–a Cowichan-style sweater (pictured above)–has attracted criticism. Coast Salish elders have called into question HBC’s decision to contract the manufacture of the sweaters to a non-Cowichan company. Cowichan Tribes chief Lydia Hwitsum claims that the traditional Cowichan design (like the one pictured below) is the intellectual property of her people.

Traditional Cowichan sweater

The discussion brings up interesting questions about who “owns” traditional designs, and how handmade things are used as cultural symbols.

You can read more about the Cowichan sweater tradition here, and here. There is also an NFB documentary on the subject, called “The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters”. Interested in questions of intellectual property and clothing, check out intellectual property lawyer Susan Scafidi’s excellent blog, Counterfeit Chic.

Cathy is merriment
Mimi is starlings
Morgan is pomoboho
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