Monday, December 15, 2008

Shop News from the Inbox

It is becoming increasing difficult to get work done when things like this show up in my inbox. From Knitch:
Today Only, All CASHMERE, SILK and SOCK yarns (there's lots to choose from!) are 20% off. The shop will be open until 7:30 for your shopping pleasure and we have lots of ideas for fun projects using your new yarn! If you are shopping online, please enter "onedaysale" in the comments section and we'll apply your discount before shipping. Enjoy!

Fine Print:
Discounts apply to in-stock items only. For cashmere and silk, the items must be at least 60% cashmere or silk. Regular priced items only. No adjustments. Discounts do not apply on special orders, holds or previously purchased items. Discounts can not be combined. The greater discount applies! All items purchased on sale are FINAL SALE. No winding on sale items....whew!

Hope to see you in the shop soon!
And a couple days ago from Needle Nook:

Christmas and Hanukkah are creeping up on us, only a few days till both arrive. We are cleaning house, taking inventory and selecting items to reduce. Join us Dec. 17-21 and take additional savings on the following:

* All priced shop models - take an additional 20% off.
* All bagged sale yarns - take an additional 20% off.
* All needle sets (excluding Denise) - take 20% off.
* All sale books - take an additional 10% off.

We have taken delivery of several new yarns in the past few weeks. No photos but I will describe them to you:

* Bamboo Silk - 70 Bamboo, 30 Silk - 99 yards, 5 sts per inch.
* Lace Merino - 100% extrafine merino, 29 sts per 4 inches, plus we have a sweater model.
* Noro Taiyo, not a new yarn but new for us - cotton, silk, wool and nylon.
* Can Can from Trendsetter - a tape-like ribbon with a loop on one end to knit into. This yarn will ruffle for you. Great for edging a scarf, cuffs and more.

Here is a partial list of items for gift giving this year:
$10.00 and under: scissors - socks - udder cream - note cards - needle felt kits - Eucalan - CD Rom - purse handles.
$25.00 and under: Laurel Burch totes, mugs, scarves, flip flops, earrings and pins - knit sticks - wine charms - wire blockers - funspecs - sock blockers - Circular Solution - yarn caddies - needle cases - books - needle gauges - beaded markers.
And from Only Ewe and Cotton Too:
Happy Holidays Everyone!

Come celebrate the season with us:

10:00am til ?
Brunch/Lunch will be served - come taste my chicken and dumplings
AND THE FAMOUS "RECIPE" is brewing! It will be ready for the day!

Bring your projects, visit with friends old and new and enjoy the day.

I should add here that Only Ewe and Cotton Too has done a couple can drives to provide food for those in need this holiday season. Many of our local food banks and other charities are low on supplies this year because there are so many more people in need. Thank you to Elyse, Bill, and their patrons for helping others in need.

And thank you to all our member merchants who bring the tools and materials we love to our neighborhoods so that we can see them, touch them, and make informed choices with our own senses before we purchase. So often our local yarn stores special order what we need, hold items for us, mail items, make suggestions, and help us through the tricky bits. And thank you to all of them (not just those listed here) for the special events they are staging to make this a merry season.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Fodder for the 2009 Datebooks

Saturday 10 January at 2 PM, Kate Jacobs, author of The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two will be at Borders Buckhead.

XRX has moved the final date for the Think Outside the SOX contest. Entries are now due in by the 31st of January. Exactly what all of us wanted for the holidays -- more time!

Sunday 1 February is Superbowl Sunday. That means tradition here in the ATL. Needle Nook will be hosting their annual non-football knit-in beginning at 2 PM. You are invited to bring a snack to share and please RSVP directly to Arlene. If you live north and outside the Perimeter, Knitting Emporium in Kennesaw will also be hosting a non-football knitting party from 1 to 5 PM. So even if you aren't a fan of football, you can still get in on the party fun.

Saturday & Sunday the 2nd & 3rd of May 2009: Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship MD. Yes, this is a bit far afield for Atlanta, but we do have members who attend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hansen's bandages made easy?

Knitting Hansen's bandages (Hansen's is the disease formerly known as leprosy) is something AKG has done in the past. The downsides of this particular type of knitting include small needles, threadlike yarn (#10 crochet cotton), and long time commitment.

Yet another reason to go to a guild function is that you might discover something new. In this case, Patti brought her Hansen's bandage loom to Whit's block(ing) party. This is a special loom that produces a double-sided fabric. It is worked in a way similar to French spool knitting. The thread/yarn is wound around the pins, then old stitches are pulled up over new. Patti's loom is stamped with the words "". I haven't ordered anything from them, so cannot vouch for them, but provide the link for anyone interested in exploring. Also, quick searches on Google and Ravelry bring me back to this blog. They seem to be the current active distributors of bandages in Vietnam.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So, how cold is it in Afghanistan?

It is winter in Asia, too. This means that American and other coalition forces are now dealing with below-freezing temperatures. A quick check of the weather report for Kabul shows overnight lows in the 20s. There are several folks here in the Atlanta area who continue to be interested in getting warm wool helmet liners onto the heads of the troops.

At our December meeting last week, Kay from Rare Purls not only brought shop goodies -- including beaded Artyarns and Opal Harry Potter sock yarn -- but also a special deal. She sold Cascade 220 in helmet liner colors at a very good price. This was Kay's way of encouraging people to make helmet liners, as one skein of Cascade 220 will make one helmet liner.

If you are on the north side of the city, The Whole Nine Yarns in Woodstock is also encouraging patrons to make helmet liners. In this case, a customer named Doris knit one last year for a soldier serving in Afghanistan. He recently wrote her a thank-you note about how wonderfully warm it is and how very much he appreciates it. He also asked if she could make enough for the dozen soldiers in his unit, as he will be home for Christmas leave and would like to take some back to share. Debi has stepped up to encourage us. Buy a skein of helmet liner appropriate Cascade 220 at The Whole Nine Yarns and keep your receipt. Bring the completed helmet liner and your receipt back before 28 December. The shop will give you a store credit equal to the cost of the yarn.

And, of course, if you live in the Roswell/East Cobb area, Cast On Cottage is also knitting helmet liners. Their ambitious goal is to make 201. This is for Claudia who is the mother-in-law of a serviceman overseas. Cast On Cottage has a helmet liner knitting night from 6-8 PM on the 2nd Thursday of the month, the next of which is tomorrow the 11th. As motivation, Theresa will hold a drawing for a gift certificate from the names of those who complete helmet liners. The more you make, the better your chances of winning.

Thank you to Kay, Debi, Theresa and everyone who has/is participating in this cause. If you need a pattern or more information, you can find it on the AKG website over here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ruth Schnatmeier

This e-mail just arrived from Whit:
Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but wanted to tell you all that Ruth Schnatmeier passed away peacefully last evening of the cancer she had been battling for many years. The “celebration” of her life will be Friday at 1:00 p.m. at Briarcliff United Methodist Church at the intersection of Briarcliff Rd. and Shallowford Rd. (Burial will be private).

We all knew her as the creator of The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children on Ethyl Street off 10th and Northside drive. We send items of clothing etc. to them every month. She came to AKG Meetings a number of times to tell give us updates on the shelter and loved and admired/appreciated us for our nonstop generous donations. She was truly an angel among us.

Our sympathies go out to her family. But also to her family is extended the gratitude of women and children throughout Atlanta who were able to get their lives back on course because of her work. Thank you, Ms. Schnatmeier, for an example of a life well lived. You will be missed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Block(ing) Party

Whit held her annual blocking party on Sunday. The "purpose" is many-fold. The overt functional reason is so that we can all use Whit's professional steamer, pictured at right. I must admit that this does seem to be a very handy device, especially if you are blocking something with texture that might be flattened by a steam iron and pressing cloth.

The second reason for the party is to drink Ginny's guild-famous eggnog. At first, Ginny thought she was not going to be able to attend, but her plans later changed. Hurray! I have no idea what is in the eggnog, but it is very tasty stuff. And probably of the right strength, as there did not seem to be too much knitting under the influence.

The third reason to attend is the setting and hospitable greeting as evident in this picture. Willy loves people. He jumps around and wags his tail and just wants to be liked by everybody. He looks as if someone took a big pile of washed sheep shear, waved a magic wand, and animated the whole fluffy ball of fiber. You can also see from the picture the peaceful lakeside setting. No wonder Whit gets so much knitting done with a spot like this!

Of course, the real reason to come is to spend time with friends. Plus, if you are at a friend's house, then you have a legitimate reason to not be cleaning your house, addressing your holiday greeting cards, or dealing with any of the myriad little chores that keep us from our appointed hobby. Well, as long as I'm here, I guess I'll just have to sit and knit and maybe drink a little of that eggnog. Some of us having a very good time:
Ginny & Ardith hanging out in the corner with the lovely view.

Joyce in a fabulous hand knit and Debra working with scrumptious hand-dyed wool sock yarn. Notice the Stitches South brochure in the left foreground as well as the candy. Mary Jane is in the background.

Diana working on her latest Opal sock with Sandy holding the yarn. Hint: if you need to motivate Diana, Opal is your carrot of choice.

And here we have Mary Jane wearing a t-shirt that reminds us of the dangers of knitting under the influence. Mary Jane was working on a scarf with an interesting knit-purl and ribbing pattern. The patterns cause the fabric to pull in and out, creating a rippling edge without any increases or decreases. The fabric is also reversible.

As we move through the holiday season, may you enjoy much time merrily in your favorite comfy spot, with good light, a warm drink, a comforting project, and the company of knitting friends who understand that Opal is not an iridescent rock. Ho, ho, ho.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

December Show & Tell

A thank you to Linda for the reminder during the meeting that we still needed to do show and tell. After the sun goes down, it isn't going to get any lighter outdoors until dawn, so why not stay a little longer and enjoy?

Nyla moved here from California, where she was in several guilds. This poncho featuring miters and even a little entrelac was a popular project in the group out there. Fun & stylish!

LaVonne knit this beautiful reversible baby blanket. In the photo at left, you see it from the back. You'll notice along the bottom that she even worked the name of the baby into the edging of the blanket. And just to show how beautifully this worked up, here are closeups of both the front and back:

And Donna showed off this gorgeous Jojoland entrelac shawl. She did mention that she had a little trouble with the ruffled edge and had to re-knit it, but the final result is clearly worth the effort. And for those of you who like color but don't feel comfortable wearing bright or strong colors, this yarn is a wonderful way to indulge. There is enough color to be interesting and to make the project coordinate with a variety of outfits in your wardrobe. The final result is colorful and lovely without being garish.

As always, guild members can log in on the guild website to view a wider range of show and tell projects. Other items this month included a Vogue cape that Janelle altered into a stylish poncho, a cabled every 4th row vest by Joyce, an Aran stocking by Nancy, Whit's infamous purple sweater, Kaffe Fassett socks also by Whit, an 8-stitch i-cord scarf by LaVonne, and gifts scarves and a shawl by Maureen. Linda made a pillow using the stash busting technique from Theresa Gaffey's class, so pictures of that will be posted over here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

December meeting

Many thanks to all the members who brought good stuff to the meeting. That includes delicious food for the potlucks, adorable dressed bears, raffle items, women's shelter donations, and supplies for the centerpieces. As always, the central activity of the December meeting (besides eating and socializing) is the presentation of the trauma bears to the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, which has offices in both Fulton and Dekalb counties.

The Center provides counseling services to the children as well as aiding law enforcement by conducting the interviews necessary to secure the evidence needed to bring convictions. These are children who have suffered an assault (often sexual) or who have been witnesses to a violent crime, such as a rape or murder. After the interview, the child is given a trauma bear. Many of these children come from destitute backgrounds and are not accustomed to having toys of their own. Our designer of teddy bears extraordinaire, Jean Guneysu, presented 170 bears to Senior Psychotherapist Sally Horan (photo above). Jean loves knitting bear outfits and is responsible for dressing a significant fraction of what the guild gives. This year Jean contributed more than half of the total. Thank you to all the members who contributed to this worthy cause through donating a new bear and/or dressing a bear, but an especially big thank you to Jean for consistently donating her time and creativity to this heartbreaking, worthy cause.

And because the bears are cute, here are more pictures of bears:

As we move into the new year, remember that a bear can be a great way to use up scrap yarn or to try out a new technique without over-committing yourself. There are several books and patterns in our guild library that can help you dress a bear. Also, we currently intend to have a table at Stitches South so that attendees can donate a bear.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tomorrow Night

Since holiday season can be busy, many people are tempted to skip the December meeting. There are several reasons to attend. This is our annual presentation of the Trauma Bears to the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. The range of creativity on the bears is always inspiring. This is your once-a-year chance to see and participate in this important Atlanta Knitting Guild tradition.

Also related to charity knitting, Rare Purls will be attending with a special offer on helmet liner yarn. This is a fun knitting in the round pattern and a great way to show your support -- regardless of your politics -- for our service men and women overseas who are putting their lives on the line.

Needle Nook will be bringing great holiday gift ideas. Gale's Art will be bringing pretty rovings. You can get some of the stuffing that you want for in your stocking -- Santa will thank you for saving him the trouble of shopping!

There will be a raffle to benefit the women's shelter. You may bring items to donate as you like. There will be kits and patterns to pick up for the Stitches South centerpieces. You may donate yarn and other craft items to that cause. There will be opportunities to sign up for Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer classes. There will be opportunities to sign up for The Mountain. And there will be food since this is our annual holiday potluck. If you can, please bring something tasty to share and possibly show off your culinary skills.

See ya'all at the party!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Calling All Sock Knitters

A reminder to our many talented sock knitters: XRX's Think Outside the SOX contest ends on 31 January 2009. That gives you more than a month to get your entries off to Sioux Falls. Information can be found on the contest website here. There is also plenty of information in this month's (Winter 2008) Knitter's magazine, beginning on page 52. There are 27 prize categories and over $21,000 in prizes. This is also a very good opportunity to showcase your design talents. If you are a budding superstar, here's a chance to start shining!

Edit as of 12/12: XRX has just announced an extended deadline for the contest. Socks need to be submitted by the 31st of January 2009. Winners will be announced at Stitches West, which is in late February. Many thanks & seasons greetings to the fine folks in Sioux Falls!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Break out those 2009 Datebooks

For those people who complain that you are hard to buy for because you already have everything, just point 'em over here for some ideas! There's something for everybody.

Stitches South (23-26 April 2009) registration is up here. This is the premiere knitting event in the South.

The South Carolina Knitting Guild will host their second annual Knit Inn 6-8 February 2009 in Greenville, SC. More information, including registration, can be found here. A number of Atlanta and North Georgia Knitting Guild members attended last year and had a wonderful time.

And, of course, our own Mountain retreat in Highlands, North Carolina will be 13-16 February 2009. The cost is $240 and you can register by contacting Joni. This Atlanta Knitting Guild tradition has been happening for 17 years.

And we have Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer as our January superstar, with five different classes over the weekend of 9-11 January 2009. Each class is $35 for members or $45 for non-members and you can register by contacting Debra.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And now for something completely different

This is only partly related to Atlanta-area knitting, as the artist Theresa Honeywell will be in the area 12-15 March 2009 at the American Craft Council Show. However, as far as knitting itself goes, this is very interesting. A pink knitted motorcycle cozy. Awwww.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trunk Shows & shop news

If you happen to be out and about this holiday weekend, there are at least two trunk shows in the area. Inside the Perimeter, Needle Nook has a Jojoland trunk show. Remember the pretty swirl shawl? That and more await your perusal. Outside the Perimeter, The Whole Nine Yarns has an Interweave Holiday Knits trunk show. This show features those quick gift knits that we love (and need NOW) from a great once-a-year issue.

Three merchants had tables at our November meeting. Needle Nook brought Malabrigo sock yarn (see photo above) and the new Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines book. Malabrigo sock yarn is likely to make very soft and nicely warm socks. Just beware if you gift-knit it -- you may have to beat off friends and relatives begging for more.

Sassafras Creations brought a nice supply of her fabulous knitting jewelry. Be aware that Nancy will not be at the December meeting. So, if you missed your opportunity to load up on some great knitting-related gifts and stocking stuffers, you're going to have to follow the link to the etsy store.

Only Ewe and Cotton Too brought their usual haul of goodies. Of special note is the lace that Elyse is modeling. (And doesn't she look fabulous with the hat?) The lace is worked with large yarn (worsted or larger). Interestingly, this actually works! If you are thinking about trying out lace, this is a great way to learn without attempting to knit with spider webs!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Up!

The Stitches South 2009 brochure is online and available for download. The website is here. Registration opens Monday 1 December, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving. The most popular classes sometimes fill up within the first three days, so if you are interested, download the PDF, pick your classes, and be ready to register. Online registration will be the quickest and will give you immediate confirmation of your choices.

Here's hoping that Stitches South's inaugural event is a wonderful one to remember!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Centerpieces or installation art?

As previously mentioned, Stitches South will be here in April. XRX Inc. is very kindly permitting us to be involved with their party. This is an opportunity for our guild to shine in front of a regional (possibly national) audience. So, credit goes out to Megan, Elizabeth, Linda F., Marian, and Whit who are off and running with the centerpiece idea. The theme is "Alice in Georgia Land." The items will be over sized fantasy botanicals, including kudzu. Thus, this is a great opportunity for creativity. Each flower can be different in shape, color, and material.

Here is the request for materials:

We Need Your Help!
Clean out a cabinet, closet or drawer and donate an item to help AKG make table decorations for “Stitches”!

Vases, Tea Kettles/Pots, Flower Pots - 7 in. diameter & no more than 1 foot high
Wool fabric to felt
“Unloved yarn” from your stash - bright colors
Feathers, glitzy trimmings, ribbons

Please bring these items to homes of Whit, Elizabeth, Megan, Linda F., or Marian as soon as possible -- i.e. before the December meeting.

This is also a chance for you to clean out the drawers and the stash. Blankets and sweaters that have been felted are very welcome. Fun fur and other odd yarns also add to the design possibilities. Non-felting yarns are very welcome, indeed.

The committee plans to "kit" these up and pass them out at the December meeting. This should be a lot of fun. And the hope is this will bring the sort of honor and glory to our guild that translates into the coolest knitting people wanting to come to our meetings.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stash Busting with a Superstar

Those of you who didn't take a workshop this month with Theresa Gaffey really missed out. She was absolutely wonderful! Not only was she a friendly and encouraging teacher, but she was also an all-around nice person, truly pleasant to talk to.

I took the stash busting workshop on Sunday afternoon at the library. With the upcoming economic climate, it seemed like a good time to think about how to use what's at hand. Theresa demonstrated a technique I'd seen in Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls book, the "Knitted Ruana." The fabric is garter stitch, and each row is worked in a different piece of yarn. Because of the bumpy, interconnected nature of garter stitch, even a very bright color can harmonize surprisingly well amongst others. Long tails are left at each end and turned into decorative fringe to finish the project.

Theresa's example was a purple blanket that I wouldn't have minded if it had "accidentally" gotten left behind here in Atlanta. You can see from the picture that the technique makes it easy to blend a variety of different types of yarn. Even a novelty yarn that would be too crazy on its own can work nicely with a chorus of other, plainer yarns.

Here are some other samples from the day, knit by Jan, Linda, & Valerie:

This would also be a great project for a knit-in. Everyone could bring scrap balls of yarn or even pieces that are already cut into pre-determined lengths (e.g. 10 feet). Theresa was very generous in sharing her stash with us and encouraging us to try different things. She also encouraged us to share our bits with each other. More proof that working with what you have can be very rewarding, indeed.

Edit: from the December meeting Show & Tell, Linda knit this stash scrap throw pillow. Pretty!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

November Show & Tell

Show and tell is always good. This month was no different.

Beverly showed up with a very interesting lace scarf. One end is fairly solid and features a spider. But the other end is very lacy, ending in a delicate wisp! The pattern is a free download from Hanks Yarn & Fiber. You can also find the link on Ravelry by searching patterns for "October is for Spinners."

Elizabeth showed off an organic cotton baby blanket that will be a gift. All the subtle colors in this blanket are natural to the fiber -- no dyes involved! The pattern is the classic log cabin pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting.

Lois made a lovely one skein lace shawl from Mountain Colors wool crepe. And when she says one skein she means the whole skein. She had just enough yarn to bind off.

As always, more photos on the members' section of the AKG website. (Top two photos credit Joslyn Ratcliff)

Friday, November 7, 2008

November meeting

Our November meeting featured superstar Theresa Gaffey. Theresa was a friendly and interesting speaker. If you missed her, find someone who was at the meeting to tell you the story Theresa told us of her own very scary personal struggle and how knitting helped her. This was a wonderful, moving biographical account. Theresa showed off some of her knitting patterns and spoke about how she designs. Many of her patterns are striking and interesting without being difficult. And many of her patterns make very good use of yarn she already has lying around. There's an artful practicality to her work that is quite in keeping with her Midwestern upbringing. If you happen to travel, Theresa teaches and designs at the Yarnery, in St. Paul Minnesota.
(both photos credit Joslyn Ratcliff)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Stuart, Steve, Doug, & Lou at SAFF.

Atlanta Knitting Guild was well-represented.
Merchant members Gale's Art and Sassafras Creations had a booth. Lots of AKG members were taking classes, shopping, or wearing sheep on their heads (see above).

More to be found on the blogs:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Follow Up

Last week there was a post about some of the many upcoming shop activities in the area. I thought I'd follow up by posting the picture of one of the afghans made by The Whole Nine Yarns. A number of yarn companies generously donated pink yarn. Customers were encouraged to take a ball of yarn home and knit it up into garter-stitch squares or single-crochet squares. They were then sewn together and a border crocheted around the edges. This one and the other afghans will be raffled off at various breast centers around the metro Atlanta area. Proceeds will be used to fund local breast cancer support groups.

In addition to this being a lovely community service project, I thought I'd point out artistically just how great this worked! Many of us are looking for ways to keep knitting in this sour economy. A simple afghan made from scrap yarns can be a great way to use up leftovers. One or two skeins of something fairly basic can be used to visually unite the whole work. Even squares that change halfway through provide interest. A whole blanket of novelty yarns might be a little too crazy, but you can see that a patch here and there lends just the right amount of interest to the composition. A good work on more than one level.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

November Superstar

Our November superstar is Theresa Gaffey. Theresa has a reputation as a wonderful teacher. And the guild is able to offer her workshops at a very affordable price. Also, a number of these workshops are appropriate to advanced beginner and intermediate knitters. As it says on our home page, our guild welcomes "any knitting enthusiast regardless of skill level."

This link will take you to a listing of her patterns. Both Needle Nook and Knitting Emporium carry her patterns, so you can acquire them at your local yarn shop.

The classes include:
Designing with Colors, which will teach you how "to move beyond the colors shown in the sample garment."
Design a project, in which you will "learn the basics of designing a knit project" as the "workshop will offer you suggestions for translating your designs from a rough idea to your needles."
Sock Knitting, in which "you'll learn the basic shape of socks and the techniques you'll need for knitting your first pair. For more advanced knitters, Theresa will also discuss how to knit socks on various needles: double pointed needles, two circular, magic loop, or two-at-a-time socks."
All That Stash, in which you'll "find out how to mix yarns and put colors together, how to choose appropriate projects, and how to figure out how much yarn you'll need." In other words, how to stash-bust!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Atlanta Knitting Guild and North Georgia Knitting Guild are currently extending workshop benefits to members of each others' guilds. What this means is that if you are a member of one guild, you can take workshop classes hosted by the other guild at guild member rather than non-member prices.

NGKG has two workshops coming up. Antje Gillingham will be teaching Two Socks on Two Circulars on Saturday 18 October from 9AM to 4PM. The member cost is $50. This is a great technique for avoiding second sock syndrome. Antje is a well-respected teacher in this area. She has also written a wonderful and very readable book on the topic. Perhaps she will be willing to autograph copies?

On Saturday 15 November from 11AM - 1PM, Cheryl McLane is teaching a button workshop on polymer clay that specifically focuses on holiday ideas and color. Cheryl does adorable work with polymer clay. This can be a great way to make the perfect button for a special hand-knit garment, instead of hunting all over town only to come home with something that's not quite right. Cheryl's class is $20 total -- $15 for the class plus $5 for materials.

And Atlanta Knitting Guild will be hosting Theresa Gaffey in November. More on that in a separate post.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


There's a lot of good shop news going on in the area. To that end, here are some of the highlights of upcoming special events.

This weekend on Sunday 12 October at 1PM, The Whole Nine Yarns in Woodstock will be hosting their 3rd Annual Breast Cancer Awareness/Research "Kit/Crochet-a-Thon." Donation at the door of $5. All proceeds go to the sisters of Support breast cancer support group in Marietta, Georgia.

In another community service project, Cast-On Cottage is asking patrons to knit helmet liners for the troops. Their goal is to knit 201 -- enough for the commander and his unit. This is an ongoing project that meets on Mondays from 6-8PM. As additional motivation, every finished helmet liner is another chance to win a $50 Cast-on Cottage gift certificate.

And the community service bug extends to Main Street Yarns in Watkinsville. From 6-10PM on Friday 14th November, the shop will host a knit for preemies night. For every hat turned in that evening your name will be entered into a drawing to take place at 10:00 pm and a $50 gift card will be the reward. Dessert and coffee will be provided. The knit-in benefits Bundles Of Joy, a local group that puts together gift packages for parents of preemies and distributes them to both Athens Regional and St Mary's hospitals as well as one in Augusta. The 'bundle' includes products and information for these tiny babies and their parents and Main Street Yarns would like to include hats for them.

Only Ewe and Cotton Too still has just a few spaces left for the SAFF bus trip. This is a great opportunity to ride up and back with other knitters. Somebody else will have to find the gas, read the maps, and locate the parking. This is on Saturday 25 October leaving at 7AM and returning about 10PM.

If you would rather stay in town, Needle Nook is hosting a SAFF knit-in the same day, from 2-5PM. This month the shop has focused on one-skein projects, which are great for using up leftovers or those speciality, "I just had to have it" purchases. And don't forget that Needle Nook will host a Jojoland trunk show from 21 November through 2 December. That gives you a reason to visit during Thanksgiving.

Of course, there are many, many classes available from our local shops. But of special interest on Tuesday 28 & Wednesday 29 October, Knitch will be hosting superstar Leigh Radford of Alterknits fame. Workshops include jewelry making, needle felting, and shibori. These are interesting techniques for working with fiber in a non-knitting way. Many of these techniques are great for embellishing knitted garments and bags, or giving a garment a special handmade touch.

Monday, October 6, 2008

October Show & Tell

There were lots of excellent show and tell items. For those of us who could stay (and maybe pick up the vice-presidential debate in reruns on CNN or download from iTunes) there were certainly some treats. Here are a few. More to be found on the guild website. This month's photos courtesy of our webmistress, Joslyn.

Debra modeled this beautiful jacket from a Knitter's magazine design. She mentioned getting the sleeves set-in properly and how much importance Rick places on that. Rick then got up and using his new AKG magnifying card, proceeded to inspect the shoulder and sleeve seams on Debra's garment. She passed!

Some members really took the suggestion to heart that you should bring items made from Knitter's magazine patterns. Margaret brought five sweaters, including three knit from the same issue. She definitely wins the prize for impressing our guests. In this image, you see her holding her finished sweater and comparing it to the example in the magazine.

XRX has also published a wonderful series of afghan pattern books. This wonderful example is worked in five different colors, each representing a different element. This type of project is a great way to experiment with new stitches and techniques. And if you don't like something, you only have to work one square of it and then you can move on to something else. A great way to enhance your knitting skills and keep warm!

Lou never ceases to amaze with his talent. In this case, he has knit an entrelac sweater for himself. This appears to be self-striping sock yarn. No one is going to lose Lou in a crowd while he is wearing this fabulous garment.

There's more but, hey, we've got to hold some of the goodies back for members. Be sure to go log in to the members' section of the website to see some great lace, Nancy's prize-winning sweater, socks, a bride's purse, and more! And thank you again to our members for making our guild look very good in front of our VIPs!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October Meeting

The guest speakers for our October meeting were CEO Benjamin Levisay and Editor Rick Mondragon of XRX Inc. These are the fine people behind Knitter's magazine, the Stitches conventions, and those great XRX Books. Benjamin (at left, in a vest knit by Rick) started out the presentation by giving us a taste of what Stitches South will be. Remember, everybody save 23-26 April 2009! Although the list is not yet finalized, there should be some wonderful teachers and awesome classes. The marketplace will also be a sight indeed. And for those of you who want/need a hotel room, the rate at the Renaissance Waverly is excellent. It is a very nice hotel and they have extended a very gracious rate to Stitches South attendees. With any luck, this could be the first of several southern Stitches events in the coming years.

The second part of the presentation was given by Rick, who gave us a sneak preview of the next issue of Knitter's magazine. There were many, many good items. Quite a few people gasped with delight at a Laura Bryant jacket. There is a sweater that looks like reverse applique -- very mod and unique. There are even a couple beaded knitted necklaces, which would be nice gifts to be appreciated by other craft people. The local shops shouldn't be surprised if the next issue of Knitter's moves just a little faster than usual. With so many wonderful projects, no wonder Rick was willing to share with us!

Other important bits from the meeting:
Debra reminds us that Theresa Gaffey will be here next month. This is an excellent opportunity to take classes from a very good teacher. I'll post more later.

Becky and Susan organized the bi-monthly raffle. This month's auction benefited our library. To that end, Lois kindly included library duplicate copies in the raffle. Our guild membership is always very generous both in what is donated to the raffle and in general participation. The raffle raised about $120 that Lois will be able to use to acquire the newest and niftiest knitting books -- maybe even some books published by XRX?

And one final bit of business, Randie handed out the new membership directories. Thank you to Randie and Debra for their hard work on the directories.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lucky Potluck

XRX Editor Rick Mondragon discusses the finer points of knitting with shop owner Arlene, jewelry designer Nancy, & senior VP workshops Debra.

Friday evening there was a potluck at Whit's house in honor of our special guests, XRX CEO Benjamin Levisay and Knitter's Editor Rick Mondragon. It is not uncommon for someone to host a potluck dinner when our guild has a special guest, and it was very kind of Whit to host this one. She has a large enclosed porch (more like a sunroom) that has a fabulous lake view. (see right)

CEO Benjamin Levisay discussing Stitches South with shop owner Elyse. Jane listens in, left foreground. Diana knits on her new sock, on couch behind Elyse. Marian, Arlene, & Lou are the grouping in the background.

It was a truly delightful evening, with the last of us leaving after 10 PM. Benjamin and Rick were able to answer our questions about Stitches South, including questions from those of us who may be attendees, or teachers, or vendors with a booth. Already it is becoming clear that Stitches South is going to be an awesome show. Benjamin and Rick were both kind in praising our guild for our talent as well as our sense of fun. It was very kind of them to take time from their busy schedule to meet with us. I think everybody left with a good feeling about what is going to happen here in April. You'll be sorry if you miss the party!

Friday, October 3, 2008

News from last night

I'll be posting more later about last night's wonderful meeting.

As some of this is time-sensitive, I thought I'd better get it posted now. We're trying some new things regarding Shop Talk at meetings, especially on nights when we have special guests. Last night Sassafras Creations was there with her wonderful knitting needle jewelry. Main Street Yarns had a table of goodies, including the new Opal Harry Potter Sock Yarns. (I made my Will save against the Hedwig colorway, but only because I just did the Shop Hop.) Needle Nook also had a table of goodies, and showed a beautiful Noro Kureyon jacket from one of the new books.

I didn't get a chance to see what Only Ewe and Cotton Too brought to their table. However, they did have a nice handout. In addition to reminding us that they now have an online store as well as a blog, Elyse wants to remind people that the Crabapple Festival is Saturday 4 October from 9AM - 5PM. That's tomorrow! From the website, it looks to have lots of great antiques as well as art and, of course, food. Only Ewe also has a couple spaces left on the bus trip to SAFF on Saturday 25 October. The price is great and somebody else will have to find the gas! Plus, four hours up and four hours back of knitting with other knitters. I'm already there.

Last thing I should mention -- Elyse was the first to post something about the new Addi Click Interchangeable Needles. During the Shop Hop, I asked most of the other shops in the area about them, and I think just about everybody will be getting some. These will retail for about $150 a set. And supplies will be strictly limited when they begin arriving late in October or early in November. So if you want to buy a set -- or maybe want Santa or someone to bring you one -- best to talk to your friendly local yarn store people now. And when the needles do arrive, I'd love for somebody to do a review either here online or at a meeting. I think many of us are eager to see how the Addi product compares to Denise, Boye, or KnitPicks.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Thursday's meeting should be fun. CEO Benjamin Levisay and Editor Rick Mondragon of XRX, Inc. will be at the meeting to give us the inside scoop on how awesome and fun Stitches South is going to be this April. This is a great opportunity to ask questions about what to expect and how best to enjoy a major convention. It is very kind of these gentlemen to take time out of their busy planning schedule to come meet with us.

Additionally, Randie will be handing out membership directories. Becky will be organizing the raffle to benefit our library. And Debra will have the information for signing up for our November superstar, Theresa Gaffey.

Gas is still a little tight here in the metro area. Here's encouraging ya'all to carpool if you have to. Rick Mondragon has a reputation for being an engaging and hilarious speaker, so the evening should be electric!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Knitting Daily

As many of you know, Knitting Daily has a television program. The first season is available on dvd. In fact, Elyse and Bill from Only Ewe and Cotton Too very kindly donated the Season 1 dvd to our library. Many thanks! If you participated in the shop hop, then you know where Only Ewe and Cotton Too is located. If not, it is up north on GA 400 in Crabapple, a sweet little part of Alpharetta. You can use Exit 10 Old Milton Pkwy. Head west and continue as the road narrows. Turn right at the light with Broadwell Rd -- Wallace Woods subdivision will be on your left. Go about a mile and turn right at the next light, which is Crabapple Rd / Mayfield Rd. Go just a few feet and turn left into the shopping center. The shop building used to be a cotton mill! And there is a bead shop next door. So be sure to drop in and thank Elyse and Bill.

If you want to check the dvd out of the library, remember that this is one of those items that may be on a waiting list for awhile, especially because Knitting Daily is not broadcast in the Atlanta Metro Area. If you are interested in writing to our local PBS station and alerting the powers that be, the contact information is:
Dustin Lecate
Public Broadcasting Atlanta
740 Bismark Rd.
Atlanta GA 30324

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shop Hop In Town

Picking up from yesterday:
If you turn left as you leave Cast-On Cottage and Needlepoint Garden, you are on what becomes Roswell Rd. Drive a little more than 11 miles, which includes passing over I-285. Strings & Strands will be on the left in the Sandalon complex, between the ski shop and Bellini. This is a little after the fourth traffic light, just after the crest of the hill. Make the left turn into the parking lot just in front of the blue Bellini sign and drive back, and you'll see it some ways back in the complex.

Make a right turn out onto Roswell Rd, go a little ways and turn right onto Glenridge Dr. Follow into Glenridge Conn and ultimately the signs for GA 400 South. (Note that if you don't want to cut across on the surface streets to GA 400, you can get the same effect by following Roswell Rd back to I-285, turning right onto the entrance ramp, and heading east one exit.) You'll need 50 cents for the toll booth. Exit at Exit 1, Sidney Marcus Blvd. Stay in the near left turn lane, not far left lane on this first exit ramp. You'll want to be under the "I-85" sign. Stay in the near left turn lane again at the next light. Now get in the far right lane as you go east towards Lenox Rd/Cheshire Bridge Rd., following signs for Emory Hospital and I-85 N, and turn right onto Cheshire Bridge. Go underneath I-85 and get in the left lane. Pass the light at Sheridan Rd and turn left at the next light, LaVista Rd/Lindbergh Dr. (The Tara Theater is behind you to your left as you sit at the light.) Go about a mile on LaVista Rd to the third light and turn left. (Peachtree Baptist Church is the tall spire on the right side of this intersection.) You'll need to make an immediate right into the Briar Vista Shopping Center. Needle Nook has a nice bright yellow sign.

Heading out of Needle Nook, make a left turn onto Briarcliff Rd. Follow it for a little more than 3 miles, past Emory University Briarcliff Campus and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, both on the right. After St. Louis Pl, turn right onto St. Charles Pl. (There is a Carter Center straight ahead sign just before this light.) Put your car in 1st or 2nd gear and drift slowly down this long block -- there are several nasty speed bumps. Cross Highland Ave North at the light. Go past a few shops and turn right into the alley. Knitch usually has out a turquoise and brown sign indicating where to turn. If you'd rather not negotiate the parking in the alley, you can often find a parallel space out on St. Charles Ave. Knitch shares the parking area with Atkins Park restaurant, so there tends to be more room if you don't show up during mealtimes. Then again, maybe you want lunch or dinner?

For an easy egress from the city, go south on Highland Ave North past the lights at Ponce de Leon Ave and North Ave. Turn right at the third light, Freedom Pkwy, which takes you past the Carter Center. Pass the Carter Center to the first light and turn left. This puts your squarely on Freedom Pkwy and headed back to join the downtown connector at Exit 248C. From there, you can easily catch I-75, I-85, or even I-20. Coming into the city via Freedom Parkway (bear right just after you pass under the concrete tunnel) is an easy way to get to Knitch or just the whole Virginia Highlands, Druid Hills, Decatur area.

With yesterday and today's directions, you've reached all the shops in the hop except Main Street Yarns in Watkinsville. The directions can be found here, on the July blog entry entitled "Gratitude." They involve heading north on I-85 to GA 316.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shop Hop Northern Arc

For you folks about to embark on the shop hop, here are some potential directions to help you find your way.

There is a Northern Arc of shops from west to east: Knitting Emporium in downtown Kennesaw, The Whole Nine Yarns in downtown Woodstock, Only You and Cotton Too in downtown Crabapple, and Cast-on Cottage and Needlepoint Garden in downtown Roswell. All of these are charming shops in charming small-town Southern settings. Most of them are also in areas with many pedestrians and tight speed limits, so do be careful if you are the driver.

One potential driving route:
Note to those looking at a map: at many times of the day, it is easier to travel on Chastain Rd than on Barrett Pkwy. If you are driving north on I-75, it may be worth your sanity to go a little farther north than what a map suggests.)
From I-75 take exit 271 Chastain Rd and head west toward Kennesaw and McCollum Field. Chastain will change names to McCollum Pkwy. Travel a couple miles and be in the right lane as you pass McCollum Field. At the traffic light for Old Hwy 41/Main St, turn right. Travel north on Main St about one mile, past two traffic signals. Beware of the speed limit changes! After Main St takes a turn to the right at the odd intersection with Summers St, Knitting Emporium will be on your left as the historic downtown comes into view. The shop is located inside a house and the sign says "Antique Garden." There is a tire place across the street from them. Turn onto the driveway next to the mailbox. Parking is around back of the house.

After Knitting Emporium, make a right turn out on to Main St. Go back to McCollum Pkwy/Chastain Rd and turn left. Travel east about 3 miles. You'll need to be in the left lane to get on I-575 headed north. Travel about 5 miles to exit 8, Towne Lake Pkwy & Woodstock. Keep to the right on the exit ramp. As you turn right onto Towne Lake, you'll need to shift one lane to the left. (The far right lane goes away.) Go straight at the light. The road goes up a small hill. As it comes over the crest, you'll see a red barn to your right and a sign informing that you cannot turn left ahead at Main St. Guess what? You want to turn left at Main St. Therefore, turn right at the red barn and then drift to the left across the x-shaped intersection. You'll still be traveling east, but now you are over on Mill St, which runs one-way parallel to Towne Lake but one block south of it. Staying in the left lane, follow Mill St a couple blocks to the traffic signal where it dead ends at Main St. Turn left when the signal light permits. Go straight at the light for Towne Lake Pkwy/Arnold Mill Rd. Do not go too fast, as the speed limit is only 25 mph! Shortly after the light, Main St crosses railroad tracks. As soon as it crosses the tracks, execute a hairpin turn to the right. This will bring you into Parkside shopping center. The gazebo is across from The Whole Nine Yarns. There is parking across the front of the shopping center, around the far side of the shopping center, and along one side of City Park. If you are really stuck for a spot, there is also parking along Main St on the other side of the railroad tracks.

As you leave The Whole Nine Yarns, make a left hairpin turn at the railroad tracks and head back south on Main St to the main light. Turn left so that you are headed east on Arnold Mill Rd. Follow Arnold Mill, bearing right as it meets route 140, for about 12 miles. Near the end of the 12 miles, you'll pass a castle on the right. In about a mile you'll see capitalistic civilization, including Kroger and BP on the left and McDonald's on the right. The traffic light is at Crabapple Rd, turn left. Be careful as this is a more than 90-degree turn. Go about a mile, passing the light at Birmingham Hwy/Broadwell Rd. Only Ewe and Cotton Too is just ahead on the left. The valet parking is for the restaurant. Use the parking spaces along the building with the long porch.

Leaving Only Ewe and Cotton Too, turn right and head back down Crabapple Rd. Go a little more than 5 miles west and south on Crabapple, being sure to keep to the left at the fork with Hardscrabble Rd. Crabapple becomes Canton St at Woodstock Rd. Cast-On Cottage and Needlepoint Garden is in a house on the left about half a mile south of Woodstock Rd. (There is a cat clinic across the street from them.) Parking is available in back.

Tomorrow: In-town route.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Four merchant members were kind enough to bring knitting goodies to the September meeting.

Only Ewe and Cotton Too had, amongst other things, a big pile of Kaffe Fassett yarn as well as plenty of sock yarn. This was plainly visible from across the room. (Katie & Elyse pictured.)

Needle Nook had some new books, including In the Mood by Jean Moss. The golden jacket in the foreground is a sample from this book. Cute and flattering on a variety of figures. (Arlene pictured seated.)

Main Street Yarns brought her goodies in those wonderful Ghanaian baskets. There were new colors of Hempathy, more sock yarn, and lovely needle cases. (Ruth pictured.)

And Sassafras Creations continues to recycle aluminum knitting needles in the most interesting of ways. In addition to the bangle bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, there were even ballpoint pens! If you have the knitting needle pen with your checkbook, will that encourage you to balance the checkbook? Or will it make it that much easier to spend money on yarn? (Nancy pictured, with Lois and the library table in the background.)

As a reminder, the second annual Atlanta Shop Hop starts this Saturday, the 13th of September. Thank you to all the shops who saved us some gas and gave us a preview of the goodies waiting to be loved.