Sunday, July 27, 2008


Our member Karen used to bring her swift and ball winder to meetings. It was a great way for her to meet new people. And it was a nice service for members, especially new knitters who may not yet have sunk money into infrastructure. Or maybe they have mercifully not yet experienced a skein blowing up on them and so do not yet know the soothing confidence of using an umbrella swift? It was Karen who got us thinking that maybe a guild that could have a well-stocked library and a microphone system could also have a swift and ball winder.

A letter went out to the shops and two of them generously responded. Main Street Yarns & Fibers in Watkinsville donated a ball winder. This shop is located off GA 316 near Athens. If you happen to be up near the University of Georgia anyway, this is a great place to stop. To get there, drive about 40 miles up 316, then hang a right at the light onto Oconee Connector. Follow it about 5 miles until it dead ends at Main Street and turn right. Go to the second light and turn left onto Barnett Shoals Rd. If you pass Jittery Joe's, you've gone too far. Go about half a mile (over the railroad tracks). The shop is the charming red barn on the right. The mailbox has a dinosaur on top. And be sure to ask the ladies where to eat lunch -- they know and it is worth it to listen to them. Ruth has kindly donated or discounted books for our library as well, so ya'all be sure to thank her heartily when you see her at meetings or when you visit her shop.

Yes Yarn in Anderson, SC made a sturdy wooden umbrella swift available to the guild at a greatly reduced cost. If you are traveling up I-85 through South Carolina, use Exit 19A (which is marked for Anderson). From what Mapquest shows, it looks to be an easy 5 miles down Clemson Highway, which becomes Clemson Blvd, which becomes N Main Street. Keep left at the fork with E North Ave. Many thanks to Margaret for giving our guild a great bargain and for shipping, too.

Be sure to thank both of these shops for making our life with skeins easier. And come prepared to enjoy using these clever gadgets at meetings. Bring on that yarn!

Friday, July 25, 2008


The Atlanta area shop hop is coming up in September. As this is bound to be of interest to some members, I thought I'd better put a link here. The link will take you to the shop hop blog, which will keep you up to date on participating shops and those great prizes!

The shop hop is an opportunity to have some fun with friends, as carpooling is a good idea indeed. And it is a chance to get around and see what the shops have, as each shop is different and carries different yarns and related items. This is also a very good opportunity to make a wish list for those upcoming December gift-giving holidays -- make the shopping easy on others by letting them know what sorts of things you like and where they can be found. And if you are missing a skein or two, this is also a chance to fill out those gaps in the stash. As the Yarn Harlot reminds us, you never know when there might be a sudden international shortage of wool. (Somehow this sounds like the first chapter of a science fiction novel -- the invading aliens abscond with sheep from New Zealand to Iceland while the dogs are left barking at the skies.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Community Service

Valerie is our Community Service chair. For the July meeting, Valerie and the community service subcommittee chairs took a few minutes to tell us about what projects are in the works and what is needed to make them happen. Valerie also wrote up and ran off a nice handout that summarizes the projects.

Whit spoke about the helmet liners. The guild has been knitting these for some time, and we've donated almost 300. Earlier this year, we received a certificate of thanks for the first 250. Helmet liners are knit in the round out of wool. A link to the pattern is on our website. A typical liner can be knit in just a couple evenings. The military requires drab colors only, with black being the most desired. Wool in the appropriate colors is welcome.

Jean (photo at top left) spoke about the trauma bears that are donated to the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. The guild has been dressing teddy bears for about twenty years. This is a great opportunity for creativity. We've seen beach bears, sailors bears, even chef bears over the years. And it's a great way to use up scrap yarn or to try out a new technique. There are bear clothes patterns on the website. Jean also had a bear clothes pattern published in this year's Knitting Pattern a Day calendar. And our own library has several patterns for adorable bear clothes. New or very gently used bears are welcome donations.

Diana spoke about the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children. This is another project that the guild has been doing for quite some time. In this case, we donate money or household items, toiletries, clothes, baby items, blankets -- whatever someone setting up a new household with children might need. As school is about to start, school supplies such as notebook paper will be needed. These items are collected at each meeting and Diana graciously delivers them to the shelter.

Julie was not available to discuss stoma covers. These are small, bib-like items with adjustable ties that are used to cover the stoma (hole) left after a tracheostomy. The yarn cannot be anything fuzzy, because the fuzz could be inhaled. Cotton is great for this. Men prefer neutral colors, but the women patients are not afraid to have some fashion style. Again, patterns are available on the website. These are very quick to knit up -- just an hour or two. Donations of cotton yarn for this are appreciated. Even leftovers work well, as these items are not large.

Ro, who also could not attend the July meeting, is our contact person for preemie hats and blankets. Patterns for these items are also available on our website. Again, these are often small items that can be made from leftover yarn and that can be finished just in one evening which watching television.

Thank you to the many guild members for all you give to the wider world. We know that not everybody will want to participate in every project, but we hope that there is a little something for everyone.

(Photos credit: Randie Cowan)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July potluck meeting

A big THANK YOU to Joni for organizing the potluck. Joni was our hospitality chair for many, many years. She's also a passionate Georgia Bulldogs fan who knows how to host a tailgate party. And Joni was kind enough to do the shopping, so that we now have plates, napkins, cups, and flatware to get us through the year. Thank you, Joni, for lending your skills in making the party happen!

The potluck meeting gave us all the chance to eat, sit and knit, and enjoy each other's company. Needle Nook and Only Ewe and Cotton Too both attended and had beautiful things to show. With the cost of gas, many of us very much appreciate the opportunity to see what's new and maybe buy some of it without having to drive around Atlanta.

We had a short program from our Community Service chairs to remind us about our current projects and what we need to make those happen. I'll post that information and pictures in a separate entry.

(Photos credit: Randie Cowan)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Member knit-in & tea

On 22 June, I held a new member knit-in at my house. Meetings can be a bit intimidating to new members. My hope was that this would be an opportunity for the newer people to meet each other and a few established members.

It was a sultry summer afternoon and I set things up out on the screen porch. I got out my grandmother's silver tea set and her good Noritake china. In addition to tea, we had three different types of scones: cinnamon-glazed, lemon blueberry, and peaches and cream. (I just had to choose the last one -- so appropriate for Georgia, yes?) I also brewed up a tea posey tea flower in my clear Jenaer Glas (German) teapot. Yes, I am almost as passionate about tea as I am about fiber.

The guests were Anne (Welcoming), Becky (Treasurer & Raffles, see above left), Randie (Membership & Photographer), Linda (formerly Secretary and many other positions), Benita (new member, see right) and Irene (prospective new member, see below left). We got to sit and knit and munch and chat. Several guests browsed my personal knitting library. (There's a reason I was librarian for awhile.) Benita borrowed several items from my library: the Morehouse merino alligator scarf and dragon scarf patterns, Knit Kimono, Knitting New Scarves, and Andean Inspired Knits.

If we do this again, I do hope to have a bigger group. But on the plus side, we all had such a lovely time that the tea party actually ran an hour longer than planned. Truly a delightful way to spend a Southern summer afternoon.

(Both left photos credit: Randie Cowan)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise

As of the most recent newsletter, there are sixteen merchants in our guild. One -- Sassafras Creations -- makes jewelry. But all the rest sell fiber. Most are bricks-and-mortar shops, but at least one is purely web-based. We don't currently have any hard and fast rules about what shops have to do to be guild members. Yearly dues for a merchant are the same as those for a regular member. And the shops themselves are in a wide range of locations and have a wide range of clientele. What a shop owner in North Carolina and a shop owner in Decatur might reasonably expect are probably different things.

Each merchant has her own way of doing what works for her business. Some come to almost every meeting, toting their newest wares and giving guild members the opportunity to shop. When we've had superstars, shops will often bring books so that members can get autographs. Some shops offer discounts to members. And each shop owner sets her own rules. Some will give a discount on yarn but nothing else. Some will give a discount if you say you are a guild member, while others will only do so if you show your guild membership card. Occasionally, shops will even participate in knit-ins, workshops, or monthly programs.

Since there isn't a specific policy outlining what shops have to do, it is sometimes a true delight to see proof of how nice people in the business of knitting can be. Most of the merchants were away at the national trade show during our June meeting. Debi Light, owner of The Whole Nine Yarns, was one of those people. She brought back for our library an autographed copy of Sweater Renewal by Sharon Franco Rothschild. Debi also gave a different autographed book to our younger sibling, the North Georgia Knitting Guild. I like to think that this kind of good will enhances knitting for everyone here in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.

To you, Debi, a very public, "Thank you!"

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Help, help!

Some of the new members who RSVP'd for the new member knit-in asked about knit help. We all have moments when we wonder, "What have I done?" or "What have I gotten myself into?" And then we end up with the dreaded UnFinished Object. Shudder. I e-mailed the member shops about what sorts of knit help they offer. I've posted the responses below by location. So if you get stuck, know that there are several area shops that have specific times when someone knowledgeable is available to devote time, patience, and thought into making your knitting aspirations become reality.

Silver Threads & Golden Needles, Franklin NC:
Offers free help if it’s just a quick few minutes, otherwise $15 per hour for help with any project.

Yes Yarn, Anderson SC:
Margaret is happy to help with short problems/questions without cost whenever the shop is open (assuming a class is not going on). Also, private lessons can be arranged at $20 per hour.

Mountain Yarn, Blairsville GA:
When AKG members are traveling or vacationing in the mountains we will be happy to help with any knitting problems. There is no fee for help as long as they purchased their yarn at a knit shop and not at a discounter.

The Whole Nine Yarns, Woodstock GA:
Free knit help for any project is Thursdays 6-8 PM. Listed on the calendar section of the website.

Only Ewe & Cotton Too, Alpharetta GA:
Sunday - 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Tuesday - 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wednesday - 10:00 am - 12:00 noon
These are "sit and knit" type groups and there is help available, but it is not an actual class time. It's more of a time to get help if someone is stuck on a project. Continuing Knitting is Tuesdays - 10:30 am – 12:30 PM, $20. These are personal help session with Brian. This is a class for whatever the person wants to do or learn. Listed on the class section of the website.
We also will help if a person is stuck on a project and they just need a quick answer (15 minutes or so). They can just come to the shop and take the chance that we will have that kind of time. Or they can make an appointment.

Many of the remaining shops will gladly help knitters when they drop in, provided that the shop personnel aren't too busy.

And a final reminder about manners: ideally, you should go to the shop where you bought the yarn and pattern if you need help. If you can't or don't want to do that, then it would be polite to purchase something in the shop that is giving you free help as a way to say, "Thank you." It's just a way to indicate that you were raised right.