Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

Fitbitting into the Winter… October 29, 2014

Filed under: General Musings,Knitting Travels,Teaching,Travels — happystitches @ 09:32
Pike's Peak, CO

Pike’s Peak, CO

Back in April, I took the pledge: I was going to exercise every day, regardless of being home or away.

I’ve done very well thus far, didn’t miss a day… until recently.  My game plan was to either walk 11000 steps as monitored by my Fitbit, ride my bike, swim, paddle or do a weight routine.  If hadn’t achieved my daily exercise goal, I’d gotten into the habit of walking after dinner until the necessary number of steps had been completed. This is less appealing in the dark, damp and cold, and now that the nights are drawing in, the siren song of the knitting chair by the fireside is hard to resist.

I did well on my last workshop tour. I found several like minded knitters in Colorado who, once the workshop day was done, joined me  for a good long walk. We found a route away from the road, set off, and got back in time for dinner. What a great way to spend time with new friends! The range of subjects we covered was astounding.

 

Osage Orange tree

Osage Orange Tree

 

 

My Kansas host lived near a park, and I walked there after class. The weather was perfect and, once I had located the pedestrian-only parts of the park, I enjoyed lovely walks whist listening to an audio book. I even discovered what Osage oranges look and smell like!

IMG_5874

Osage Orange

 

My next stop, in Livonia, MI, was at a hotel.  Here I  remembered that I hadn’t brought along my gym gear. The clothes could be improvised but, without appropriate indoor shoes, the indoor sports facilities were  a no go. I climbed stairs between floors and walked where I could. Sadly, though, being bounded by roads and parking lots is not conducive to walking outdoors. On the other hand, owing to the bizarre design of the hotel, I frequently headed off in the wrong direction between my room and the classroom, and gained many valuable strides this way!

 

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Post-workshop stroll in Lexington

Lake Huron

A gorgeous view: Lake Huron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onwards to Lexington, MI, right on the shores of Lake Huron. It was very beautiful there but, again, not easily suited to walking. I had hoped to walk back from the workshop to my host’s home each day, but the nature of the traffic on the apparently quiet road was enough to blow you off your feet!  I contented myself with some small-scale local strolls and a thorough exploration of all the streets in Lexington.

 

 

 

Detroit airport green wall

Luscious Green Wall in the Detroit Airport

Airport days present good opportunities for walking and, when time permitted, I avoided moving carpets.

Rather than sitting (knitting) and waiting,  I preferred to pace up and down the terminal a few times instead. In a crowded airport, you never know who a FitBit knitter might bump into!

Airport Sighting

You never know who you might bump into!

 

Welcoming the Cooler Days October 22, 2014

 

Gorgeous Autumn Colours

Gorgeous Autumn Colours

 

We have things pretty good here in Nova Scotia: though our summers do start wet and late some years, the season certainly makes up for it in September and October. We are treated to glorious foliage, our gardens are bursting with the colours of late-summer flowers and ripening vegetables, and we enjoy  an abundance of warm and sunny days. This is the perfect weather for long bike rides along the coast, leisurely strolls on the beach, and invigorating inland hikes. This September was gorgeous, and I was thrilled to introduce another crop of Adventure Knitters to my home-away-from-home on Tancook Island. We had a glorious week, spending much of it outdoors.

 

Paradoxical Mittens

Paradoxical Mittens

But now the colder months are fast approaching. We are starting to put our gardens to bed, and hunting through the closets for our warmer clothes.
While I like to create and design throughout the year, some knitters feel less compelled when the weather is warm. But with one or two cold snaps under our belts, the needles are coming out and we’re all getting back to work!
For many of us, it’s socks and slippers, blankets and cozy sweaters, and, of course, mittens and hats. This time last year I was knitting the Zinnia Blanket, and  I enjoyed the warmth of a sizeable WIP on my lap. Now I’m working on my Blossom design and, while I’ve focused mostly on smaller sample sizes, I am keen to let this winter flower grow!

 

DK Hats Bundle

DK Hats Bundle

 

To start off the season, we’ve created a new Bundle to help get some of those needles clicking and entice you to knit a few double knit accessories in the round: the DK Hats Bundle is on for a special introductory price for the rest of the month. It includes four of my double-knit hat patterns and my DK Hats Tutorial. A worsted weight DK hat is an easily achievable gift size project to practice on.

Who knows? With a few smaller dk projects under your belt, you might want to try working on a really large one this winter. You may even wish to join my upcoming Blossom PIP Club!

Happy stitches to you, wherever you are.

 

Big Excitement at Lucy Neatby Designs: October 3, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — happystitches @ 08:51
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Our current web home page.

We will be launching our brand-new  website this weekend. The changeover is scheduled for early Sunday morning, Oct 5th. There will be a short period during which you will not be able to sign in and during which your Notebook will be inaccessible.

Our wonderful website administrator. Corrie, has been rewriting the website code this year (as well as holding down her third year of university Computer Science studies), applying many of the new tech skills she has mastered over the last few years. It is amazing, in this day of WordPress and other pre-fab website tools, to have a site handcrafted uniquely for us: it does just what we want it to, and does it how we want it to!

Our old website was built several years ago on buttercup rootstock. Since then we have grown and flourished into a mighty oak, with new and previously unimagined products, such as DVD Videos, Knitting Clubs, Bundles of products, and Tutorials.

We hope you will enjoy the new cleaner look, larger font and improved usability. The main changes are below the soil, making it more streamlined behind the scenes to provide you with even better service. (Our behind-the-scenes Administration section has become a thing of beauty!)

Blossom with petals Side B

Blossom with petals Side B

 

 

 

Why we do it? September 10, 2014

Filed under: General Musings,Teaching — happystitches @ 07:14
Teaching on-line at Craftsy

Teaching on-line at Craftsy

My teaching and traveling is fueled by you! Ask any  passionate teacher, we get a huge kick out of enabling someone to grasp a concept or master a technique. That’s why teaching live classes is so much fun. There is an energy generated by the interaction within a class. The muttering “well that was worth the price of admission” or the odd “wahoo!” popping unbidden from the lips of the newly enabled is the real pay.

Teaching virtually is rather different. I rely on people taking the time to write. Writing reviews, or just sending notes. Believe me I read and appreciate them and hug the words to myself when the going gets tough!

 

This recent letter really made me smile!

“Subject: Another one of your students

I am not a computer expert. I am writing this letter for the third time. Hope it makes it.

When I was looking at your vacation photos, I couldn’t help but feel that I was seeing a
family member or an old friend who had sent me some vacation pics.
After all; you have been in my home teaching me to knit since my 60th. birthday in
Feb. of 2010.  My goal was to begin learning all about the art of knitting when I turned 60.
You have spent many hours right in my living room teaching me lessons slowly,
standing still, in reverse or over and over. Wholly Cow, are you a patient instructor !
I now feel that I know you. You are in hundreds of homes where, I’m sure, others
feel the same way. You have hundreds and hundreds of students who, if they saw you
walking down the street, would call out to you like an old friend, “Lucy” ! !” Thank you” !
“Remember when you taught me to knit” ? !
So, for all of us who are too far away to shake your hand in person, Thank you Lucy !

You taught me to knit ! !

Your friend D****”

Do take time to write, in this fast paced virtual world to anyone who has made a difference in your life. It will make the world a finer place.

 

Blossom with petals Side B

Blossom with petals Side B

Blossom Blanket Side A

Blossom Blanket Side A

 

Evolution overtakes Blossom: a Change of Species! August 26, 2014

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Blossom with petals Side A

 

Blossom with petals Side B

Blossom with petals Side B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been happily knitting away for about six weeks on a blanket version of Blossom. I had been loving it, but of late I have noticed a gathering lack of satisfaction (the fact that I don’t find I’m grabbing it at
every spare moment is a dead giveaway, I think).

I took a good long look at it today, to see if I could figure out what put me off knitting on it. An answer was not long in coming: I made a
poor choice of the type of colour change. I simply do not look forward to knitting this way for several more months till I have a blanket!

Let me explain…

In Blossom, I opted for quilted colour changes throughout, probably influenced by the fact that I wished I had used them on my Zinnia
blanket. The threaded colour change involves pulling the far layer stitch through the front layer stitch before working the stitches in
their matching colours. This locks the layers together, creates an indentation and makes a colour change.

However, they are slightly less pleasing when used in close proximity to one another, such as at the top of a petal, and–perhaps more
importantly–they are rather tricky to read as to on which row they were made. In a design like this with such frequent pattern shifts this was leading to frequent grumbly fixes and reworking of stitches to fix errors (Grrr… not another one!). A regular colour change, where the pair of stitches are each simply worked in the opposing colours, is easier to count and easier to fix, if necessary.

This piece is no longer destined to be a blanket and I feel much relieved for having made the decision. I’m not about to waste the
knitting thus far, however. I am going to repurpose it as a table-cover and try something experimental with each of the eight sections in turn.
My plan is to work each of them as a flat piece tapering away as the next petal is completed and try something altogether new!

Now that I’ve completed the petals, I’m delighted by the effect! The unexpected issues forced me to try something new and another exciting finishing option has been created. Below are a few more of my Blossom experiments.

Phew!! It’s time to cast on another blanket now!

IMG_7246 IMG_7247 IMG_7253 Blossom Chair Pads 1

 

Summer Sale! August 25, 2014

Filed under: DVDs,General Musings,Sale,Uncategorized — happystitches @ 12:00
Hot Pink,Mango, Buttercup, Lime, Turquoise and Pansy (purple).

Hot Pink,Mango, Buttercup, Lime, Turquoise and Pansy (purple).

There are  just two more days of our super Sumer sale to go!
There are bargains on plastic DVDs, books, Addi Turbo needles, Kauni bargain bundles, to name but a few items. For full details please see my latest Spunyarn newsletter.

This is an ideal time to fill in the gaps in your plastic DVD collections. Treat yourself to some of the more esoteric titles that you might have skipped at full price!

I anticipate that once current stocks are gone that we will no longer be carrying the plastic discs. Many of our customers have moved to the digital no-postage-required versions.

I’m often asked what the differences are between the virtual and plastic discs:

The content of the discs are the same, but formatted slightly differently to accommodate their respective medium.

Plastic discs are ideal for playing on bigger screens and televisions , the content is accessed by clicking on the index.

The virtual DVDs are designed for downloading or streaming and viewing on a laptop or tablet. The topics can be accessed individually or in chapters.  We archive your virtual DVD purchases for you in your Notebook on our website. They may be downloaded or streamed.

The choice between them is dependent on how you plan to view them.

I’d like to know if you have any favourite techniques that you discovered from the DVDs?

 

LN DVD Venus1

 

My First Socks! August 13, 2014

Filed under: Craftsy,Knitting Topics,Uncategorized — happystitches @ 08:32

My First SocksMy latest class at Craftsy.com My First Socks, is now live and available for purchase. I admit I haven’t had a moment to watch it yet. It’s rather odd walking away from the studio and taking no further part in the production. (Quite unlike the months of behind the scenes activity I was involved in when producing my own DVDs.) It’s a good feeling to have an expert team behind you.
It feels a little odd to be doing an introduction to socks class when my other Craftsy class (Foundations of Double Knitting) and probably my main customer base are at the other end of the knitting spectrum! So for those kind and wonderful souls who have supported me over the years and would like to support this class, think about setting up a gift purchase for your as yet un-sock-indocrinated friends! What I love about the gift purchase is you can do the business and set the class to deliver to your recipient on an appointed day in the future. Take care of birthday’s and Christmas now!
My aim with this class was to offer a solid practical entry into the world of sock knitting. I really had to reign myself in to avoid offering too many distracting choices at this point. A sock has a surprising level of complexity when it is all new to you. I hope that I will be able to launch many new sockists with this class!
What was your breakthrough sock knitting moment?

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