Happy Stitches

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Tea and more knitting June 25, 2016

Filed under: Guest Post,Tradewind Knitwear Designs history — codeandknit @ 15:24

A brief history, part 2   by Corrie W.


Tea and biscuits

At the end of my last blog post we left Lucy standing on my doorstep. Once I stopped staring at her vest, I am quite sure to have invited her in, while wondering quietly to myself if she would find me half so interesting as I did her!

Time to make tea and dig out the cookies (oops, biscuits in the Queen’s English).

It turned out that she had just recently immigrated here from Wales with her husband and three young children. I was familiar with the immigration experience from my own past; learning a new geography and growing a new social support network is not easy! We did a lot of talking that afternoon, some of it about knitting. Her enthusiasm for knitting engineering was infectious, and her past experiences as navigating officer in the British Merchant Navy intrigued me—her shipboard time coincided with the time where I was feeling discouraged about continuing my studies in oceanography because it was so very difficult for women to get on a Canadian ship for a research trip! (After all, everybody knew that women on ships were Bad Luck.)


Pass the needle sharpener, please!

Her seafaring stories were fascinating and wonderful. A snippet I remember because it conjured up a funny picture: During ‘slow’ times on her ship’s watches, she would frequently sit and knit at the top of the companion way steps—nice view, more space. Every so often, one of her wooden knitting needles escaped and would drop all the way down the steps. If the needle tip broke off as a result of this trauma, Lucy would just sharpen the needle in a pencil sharpener, smile and resume knitting. This worked magnificently, except that during a long voyage, the needles tended to get shorter and shorter!


Sharpened needle!


The Fleece Artist

I could tell Lucy was going to make my life more fun, and possibly be a bad good influence.  Amazingly, she had found a wonderful yarn and fabric shop in Halifax—before she had even left Wales, and remember: this was eons before Google—called The Fleece Artist, located in the old waterfront section of the downtown. So there WAS a source of wonderful fibres here, after all!

Since I never went down to the ’boutique’ part of Halifax, I had never seen this shop. At the time, neither of us knew that Kathryn T., co-owner of the Fleece Artist, would become a big part of our future.


Fleece Artist logo for their current website

Lucy explained that the move to Halifax was entirely conditional on her finding a yarn shop here! How did she find out about the Fleece Artist? She called the Rowan folks (in the UK) and asked them if and where they had Canadian retail outlets. It makes me nostalgic for the days when one could phone an office and then an actual human answered the phone.



Uh oh,  I feel a rant coming on……

Even after several years of dealing with the Alexander-Graham-Hell of “Please press-the-#@&*-key-for-the-department-you-want-the-next-menu-for-so-you-can-keep-doing-this-until-you-give-up-and-go-away”,  I long for the days of ringing up a business, and being greeted by a friendly real-life voice.  (Sometimes the computerized answering software wins: There have been times that I was totally defeated by the  demon machine, and never did get the information I needed.)


Note: Currently, Kathryn’s offspring and their family members are continuing the fantastic dying of natural fibres that Kathryn submerged herself in after giving up her retail shop. I have trouble resisting the both the sensual yarns and the addictive colours. This is how Stash happens.


To be continued…


4 Responses to “Tea and more knitting”

  1. rainbowgoblin Says:

    I’m not sure how I missed part 1 when it was first posted (hint to self: two very young children) but I’ve just very much enjoyed reading it and this one. I was not knitting in Halifax in 1991, but spent about 10 years there between 1996 and 2008, with a stint in Montreal in the middle. You and Lucy make me homesick! I miss the Fleece Artist! I currently knit (and code) in Auckland, New Zealand, where they also eat biscuits, although “tea” without a modifier often means dinner (the beverage is “cup of tea”, but they also have “morning tea” and “afternoon tea”).

    Looking forward to part 3!

    • codeandknit Says:

      Greetings from cool sunny Halifax! Amazing (to an old biddy like me) how you Down-Unders can instantly see what we are up to here on t’other end of the globe. This is why I got fascinated by the ‘how’ of IT.
      I miss the Fleece Artist shop; I spent many happy hours there, chatting with Kathryn and adding to my stash. After all these years, I still have enough of this yarn to see me to my box.

  2. […] A history, part 3 (You can find parts 1 and 2 here and here) […]

  3. […] A history, part 4 (previous history posts are here: 1,2,3) […]

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