Sunday, December 27, 2009


I always feel a huge sense of relief when Christmas is over - presents are opened, all the food has been consumed and I have a couple of days to relax. Now I'm knitting what I want, not what I need to - so it's Dipped Infinity in blue for me and a cute hoodie for Quinn out of Laine Magnifiques - I picked up this yarn in Kitchener and it's really nice to work with - might need some more investigation. The Boxing Day sale will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday. Still everything at 30% off - in store purchases only! Don't worry onliners - there's a sale coming up for you just as soon as we verify our inventory counts!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Almost sidelined.....

Sunday night I was knitting like a mad woman on my FIL scarf -finished last night by the way - and when I went to get up I felt all funny - my equilibrium was way off. I went to bed and as soon as I laid down I got dizzy - I mean really dizzy - couldn't open my eyes for the room spinning dizzy. I couldn't move for the dizziness - of course, I was envisioning all sorts of wonderful illnesses - stroke, heart problems, the middle ear disease. Even Greg hardly slept for thinking he would have to take me to the hospital. When I got up in the morning I wasn't as dizzy so I decided I would go visit my chiropractor (or quack as we lovingly call her)just in case it was my neck - I was describing my symptoms to her and she said it's actually quite common and happens almost exclusively to women - apparently, there is a nerve running up your neck into your brain stem which controls your inner ear and that caused the problem - it was being hunched over my knitting for hours at a time along with the regular Christmas stress that tightened up my already tight neck and sent wacky signals to my inner ear. After some massage and a few adjustments I was as good as new - yesterday I finished the scarf and now I might just take a knitting holiday. Hat for my BIL got scratched off the list - it's a Princess Auto gift card for him I can knit what I want.......I've got the blue dipped infinity scarf kit all ready to cast on......I really want a Just Enough Ruffles for me out of Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Aran.....or maybe I could finish my rug.........there's gifts still to wrap.....a bit more shopping to do.....right! stress, who's got stress?

By the way - our first ever and first annual Boxing Day Sale is Saturday December 26 (in store only) 30% off everything knitting, 10% off rug hooking supplies. Be there or be square! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And it keeps on coming.....

Just Enough Ruffles in Sweet Georgia Riptide - Finis! The super wash worsted was fantastic to work with - this took just 3 50g skeins (261yds on a 4.5mm) - is this Pistachio colorway not the perfect color for the new Citron that came out in Knitty. The pattern calls for lace weight but I think it would be spectacular in worsted!
Irish Hiking Scarf in Donegal Tweed is cast on for my FIL - but I have to tear it out because I'm not happy with my gauge.
Oh by the way - Just Enough Ruffles is now my favorite new scarf - I think it's amazing looking and I plan to knit lots more of them because they are going to be my new accessory!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Bet you all were thinking - oh she's blogged for a few days now - no way she can keep it up. Well, I'm here again with the finished Ballard Cowl as promised. Now I'm on to Just Enough Ruffles in Sweet Georgia Riptide for my aunt - needs to be finished by Saturday to be gifted on Sunday.

Want the Ballard Cowl pattern? Leave me a comment - don't forget your email. Tata for now!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Knitting Machine....

that's what I am! Yes I am a knitting machine! The knitting gift fever hit me on Saturday with a shop full of people and I've been cranking out the gifts ever since. I must admit I was getting a bit worried about myself because I was struggling to choose what to knit, struggling with who to knit for but I've got it happening now.

Teacher #1 done - fingerless gloves from Canadian Living, Birthday Cowl from Ravelry

Teacher #2 hat done, casting on cowl today. By Sweet Georgia Ballard Slouch Hat made from one gorgeous skein of Sweet Georgia Merino Silk Blackberry. This stitch pattern was so easy to memorize that it's what I'm going to use for the cowl.
That's 4 gifts that will be done by tonight - that just leaves 3 more. I've decided on Just Enough Ruffles for my aunt in Sweet Georgia Merino Silk, a scarf for my FIL and hat for BIL. I've got it sooooo together I might just add more gifts I know the secret to Christmas knitting is to wait until the last 2 weeks...............and then the spirit will move you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


We've drawn the winners from today's Open House - I will be calling everyone tomorrow but just in case you're lurking around to see if I post here's the list:

Woolpets Needle Felting Kit - Jillian O
Sock Kit - Nancy F
Sock Blockers - Elizabeth A
Thrum Mitten Kit - Gillian G
Tanis Fiber Arts Spinning Fiber - Lynn Bee
Tanis Fiber Arts Dipped Infinity Kit - Roselle P

Yay to everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another blog post -

Here's another gift - fingerless mitts for one of Emma's teachers. Ideally, I would love to design a cowl to go with them but unless I get my knitting butt in gear there's not much chance of that! They are the ones from Canadian Living designed by Glenna C. There's actually a bunch of free pattern on the Canadian Living site that are worth a look!
Here's the door prizes for Saturday's open house - is that a Tanis Dipped Infinity Scarf Kit up for grabs? .....yessiree Bob!
All you have to do is show up to fill in a ballot for a chance to win! Kind of like the lottery, you can't win millions if you don't have a ticket!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

It's Winter

Well, winter roared in last night in a mess of heavy snow, wind and freezing rain. Things are pretty quiet around here today and I'm sure they'll probably stay that way! I'm trying to upload pictures of my MIL's Montreal Canadiens Socks - they came out beautifully but after two tries no luck. Aha! The picture loaded after try #4!

School buses in York Region were not cancelled - so what else is new? What has to happen before they decide driver and student safety is more important than anything. There was a bus accident this morning in Newmarket - six high schoolers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, thankfully. I didn't send Emma because there was just no way she was going on a bus in this weather.
We're having a Holiday Open House this Saturday, December 12th - 10-40% off a variety of yarns and lots of door prizes to be won. Hot cider and yummy treats are being served as well! I suppose that means I should decorate the shop - for those that know me, I'm not a decorating kind of person - every year I do it against my will. Lisa's in tomorrow - maybe that will be her job! Well, I'm off to watch Julie and Julia on tv with Emma and do some serious Christmas knitting! 2 gifts down!
You know what - I just noticed - I use ! alot!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Knitting Update

Here's my mother in law's socks - didn't Deb from Dye Hard Fibre Arts do an amazing job? She's going to be thrilled because she loves these colors.

I also finished Multnomah - a free Ravelry pattern in Dream in Color Knitosophy Super Hero.
I've decided to do the Irish Hiking Scarf by Hello Yarn in Donegal Tweed homespun. He's born and raised in Ireland so this is a good gift for him.
Sweet Georgia arrived last night and is looking truly lovely in here today! And I found the rug hooking stuff - it's in Bradford!!??!! Greg is coming home early to get it for me! Isn't he a good boy?
Tomorrow is the big Christmas party here - 33 people - 11 of which are children under 10 - just kill me now!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pins and Needles

I'm sitting here on pins and needles waiting for mail and for UPS - mail because Tanis Infinity Kits are coming and Tempo Tape highlighting tape and all my rug hooking stuff - UPS because they have 2 big boxes of Sweet Georgia which I can't stand waiting for. I'm also planning our Christmas Open House which will be Saturday December 12......I'm on the last repeat of Multnomah which I hope to get blocked today and pictures tomorrow. So at the moment....I'm waiting for things to happen which really rubs me the wrong way because I am the least patient person I know.

Christmas Knitting
Sister in law - mitts - check
Brother in law - hat
Mother in law - striped socks in Montreal Canadians color
Husband - hat
Father in law - Donegal Tweed Scarf - he's from Ireland.
Aunt - something- maybe the Sweet Georgia scarf in Cashsilk
Dad - new hat because I hate the one I made last year
I'd really also love to make neck warmers for all the girls but that would be 7 more things and at the rate I am procrastinating on what I have to do, there's not much chance of that.

Tomorrow is a haircut - did I mention I'm not coloring my hair anymore? I've been going gray since I was 29 and seem to have developed an allergy to hair color. I've tried all different kinds with all different hair dressers and nothing seems to work without me getting itchy like I have lice. Charlotte, my hairdresser now, was putting big chunky highlights and lowlights over the gray to cover it. It worked fine but it takes forever so the last time I went I decided to not color it anymore. This next haircut will reveal even more gray so we'll have to see. The gray is pure white which is nice - my grandmother had beautiful gray hair so maybe it will be like that. I did hear, though, just as I made this decision that men are considered distinguished as they gray but women who don't color their hair are thought to not take care of themselves. Hmmmph!

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Take on Fiddleheads

I love the Fiddlehead Mitten Kits from Tanis Fiber Arts! Here's my most recent take on them. Main color is Shadow, contrast is Stormy and for a bit of excitement - Deep Sea for the lining. That's one Christmas gift down and I have no idea how many more to go!

Debbie from Dye Hard Fiber Arts just delivered some amazing superwash merino roving and some gorgeous self striping sock yarn in merino/cashmere/nylon. Yummy!
Debbie attended a Knit Night one evening and was quietly knitting away on a beautiful pair of socks - the yarn was beautiful, the stripes were perfect - when I asked what yarn it was - she said hers and I said I'll take some. This first yarn base is called Serendipitous Sock - because it was a very serendipitous evening for both of us! I might just sleep with a bundle of her fiber - it's so soft and squishy! Makes me want to spin and not do anything else - well, unless it involved knitting with the self striping yarn!
This is just one part of a very big pre Christmas update this week - Sweet Georgia is scheduled to arrive tomorrow - 2 big boxes - 4 kinds of yarn! Tanis is rushing me the Dipped Infinity Scarf Kits which are a collaboration between herself and Laura Chau of Cosmicpluto Knits! And at long last the first of the rug hooking kits is arriving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bloggity, blog, blog, blog

It's not that I don't have anything to blog about - it's just taking the time to organize my thoughts and get the photos I need. Let's see....first up is my Fiddlehead mitten in just 2 colors of Tanis - Shadow for the background and Stormy for the contrast - Deep Sea will be the lining. It was while snooping on Ravelry that I got this idea after seeing lots of these mitts in more sedate combos. I'm not sure exactly how much it's going to take - but it looks like 3 skeins - I'll keep you posted on that.

This is the jacket on the cover of Fall Interweave 2009. Linda knit it in Donegal Tweed and I am absolutely in love with it. The yarn is amazingly soft considering how it feels in the skein. It fits me perfectly and I'm sure it will see tons of wear considering the weather we are having.....speaking of which I'm kinda missing the snow, aren't you?
There's lots of the way - a brand new kit from Tanis Fiber Arts, more Fiddlehead Mitten kits, a brand new yarn from Tanis, some mink/cashmere yarn, Sweet Georgia yarns, Pigeon Roof Studios Fibre - it's shaping up to a wonderful season - yarn wise that is! Oh one more thing - rug hooking kits are leaving Nova Scotia today so I should have them by the end of the week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spinning? Yarn?

Yesterday Deb came by to help me learn to spin on my wheel. I think it went rather well but I guess you'd have to ask her for the true picture. The bobbin has my first attempt which is a ton better than the other stuff I produced. I keep telling myself that it's artisan yarn. I was trying to spin with a beige merino that I first got with my wheel which was boring so I did really love spinning with color. The fiber was superwash merino dyed by......the same Indie Dyer that did the sock's coming to Pick Up Sticks. Self striping yarn on a 80 merino/10 cashmere/ 10 nylon. MMMMMMMgood!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Behind again...

I meant to blog on Thursday but of course, never quite managed it. We had a fabulous knit night on Wednesday - good company, good food and lots of fun! What more could you ask for? Our first week went very well and everyone seems to love the shop which is good because I really, really love this shop. It's not even because it's a great commute :) - it's because it's exactly what I wanted a yarn shop to be. When you move to a retail location you have to work with what is already there but when you take a garage and make it into what you want, then it's perfect. It's fresh and clean - it still has that "new car" smell. I'm just happy about the whole thing!
And.....I have some exciting news to share:
Laura Chau of Cosmicpluto Knits will be teaching a spinning workshop here on Sunday, December 6th and Sunday, December 13th. You do need to have a wheel but the fiber will be provided with the class cost. Cost for 4 hours of instruction will be $150. There will be a maximum number of students as well so if you are interested let me know. Class fee must be paid in advance. Isn't this exciting?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Questions Answered

I had a few questions in the comments so I thought I'd answer them here -

Knit Nights are Wednesday from 6pm - 9pm - November 4th we are serving pizza on Pick Up Sticks as well as coffee, tea, pop etc. just to celebrate our first Knit Night in the new shop!

We are opening tomorrow morning at 10am - a sandwich board will be at the end of our driveway and the shop is on the left when you reach the house (the long ranch bungalow). My dad lives here too and his house is right at the top of the driveway. My daughter also has an apartment in the barn - so it's a little family compound. Our house is the one on the left - just so you don't get confused on where to go.

I'm so excited about this shop - almost more excited than when I moved to Bradford - because it's exactly what I've always wanted. The yarns are all shelved according to weights - no more running from room to room to find something - the patterns and books are all together in one spot and I have a table for lessons. YAY!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Almost done....

Just one more bin of paper stuff to empty and we are good to go.....I'm so thrilled with the results and I hope all of you will be too - it's warm and welcoming, I think - which is just what I want everyone to feel when they stop in.
This is a shot from the door of the house into the shop - there's lots of browsing room with chairs, a table and the sofa for perusing patterns or just sitting and knitting for awhile.

I love the fireplace - it keeps the room nice and toasty and also creates really nice atmosphere. The blankets are hung between shelving with the antique ladder I had at the other store.

In the centre of the table is a bowl with the new Sweet Georgia yarns that will arrive at the beginning of December.
We have lots of fun things planned for our first week in the new shop. No taxes from Tuesday until Saturday, free Pizza on our first Knit Night starting at 6pm, 20 Balloons to pop with discounts ranging from 15%-30% off. There's only 20 so come early to make sure you get one.
New details:
Pick Up Sticks
3402 St. John's Side Road
Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 4W1
Local: 905 836 9171
Toll Free: 1 866 780 5648
See you soon!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Making of a Yarn Shop

So it seems that buiding a shop from where a garage used to be is a much bigger undertaking than I imagined but...oh so worth it. This is the shop of my dreams, bright, airy, cosy and comfortable. White walls with all kinds of brilliantly colored yarns just waiting to be knit up into something spectacular...............I'm in love and hope that you will be too! Lisa and I are working hard to get it all set up and actually it looks significantly different than these pictures but in the interest of trying (yeah, right!) to keep you all up to date here we go -----my little netbook bit the dust today and is being repaired at Future Shop - I'm actually hoping they lose it so I can get the Macbook I should have bought in the first place. Thanks to Jeremy who even is his fever fog hooked up this computer for me so I could continue to communicate - but I digress - you want pictures so here's pictures!
Here's the exterior - cedar boards - you should smell the wood - glorious!

These shots are of all the stuff unloaded from a 26' truck and 2 cars and an SUV.
This is where the stove and sink are for dyeing wool for rug hooking. The stove arrived damaged and had to be sent back, so no idea when that is actually going to start.
More tomorrow...promise!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pictures as promised

Here's how I'll get to work in the morning - a walk from the house to the shop.

Vaulted ceilings with pine beams - ceiling fans and some other lighting yet to be determined.

This is the corner where the fireplace will be.

Here's your entrance to the store as seen from the inside.

Here's the entrance seen from the outside - this will be all covered in cedar boards to match our porch.

It's all official....

here's a copy of my ad that's going to be running at the beginning of November - work is proceeding really well on the shop and I'm very excited. New table and chairs have been ordered, new stove for wool dyeing, new fireplace - all scheduled to arrive the last week of October! Of course, as usual, the camera and I are not in the same location but I'm going to borrow my dad's today to try and get some pictures. We will be closing for the move on Saturday, October 24 and have a grand re-opening on November 3rd at 10 am. The more I thought about all the needed to be moved and all that needed to be set up I realized that trying to do it in just a few days was a sure way to give myself a nervous breakdown. I'll keep you posted and hopefully....I'll have pictures this afternoon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pre-Orders Available

Tanis Fiber Arts is allowing me to sell pre-orders of her Fiddlehead Mitten kits and her Baby Shane Blanket kit. These kits seem to sell with lightening speed so in order to try and accomodate everyone, we decided to give this a try.

You can find Baby Shane kits here.....and Fiddlehead Mitten Kits here. Get yours before they are all gone!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Quick Bedtime Update

Just checked email before going to bed - my Tanis order was mailed today - that means the Fiddlehead Mitten kits should (fingers crossed)be here in time for the Yarn Crawl. Yay! Good night! Oh - and guess what else should be in - the Bison yarns from Fibre Isle. Another yay - another good night!

Big Announcement

Better late than never I say....I do have a big announcement which I'm very excited about. Pick Up Sticks will be re-locating effective November 3rd, 2009. You will now be able to find us at:
3402 St. John's Side Road
(between Warden Ave. & Kennedy Rd on the north side of St. John's)
1 866 780 KNIT (5648)
905 836-9171
Longer Hours!
Monday 11am-4pm
Tuesday 10am-6pm
Wednesday 10am-9pm
Thursday 10am-6pm
Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 10am-4pm
Sunday 11am-3pm (just until December 20th)
More Classes
More Services - Rug Hooking and Spinning!
Planned for 2010
Pick Up Sticks Book Club
Monthly Movie Night

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Look I'm Blogging Again...with Pictures even!

The camera cord is still at the store and I'm still at home but I did manage to scrape some blog worthy pictures together. First of all, stay tuned for a big announcement tomorrow! Now....on to the pics!

Here's my rug as it's been sitting since before Kitchener-Waterloo. I love rug hooking - it's the primitive form done with strips of hand dyed wool. I'm really pleased with my first try!

Here's the Fiddlehead Mitten (courtesy of Tanis Fiber Arts)it comes in 4 different colorways and I have 10 of each on order. I've almost finished one and it's quite a fast, simple knit considering how fabulous it looks. I'm just knitting the lining of the first mitt and that took just a few days to get that far. I do think these should be a must knit for Christmas gifts - but only for those worthy of your (or my)handknitting!

And another Tanis Fiber Arts project - sensing a theme here? This is my very, very favorite yarn and is quickly become the favorite of many other Pick Up Sticks knitters. We are going to have kits for the Baby Shane Blanket which Tanis designed to showcase her amazing tonal colorways. There's 8 colorways of this one and we are expecting 2 of each.

And finally my Lendrum Double Treadle - which I am about to tackle later this afternoon. I've got a workshop scheduled on November 7th but who could wait until then to spin because welll.......Tanis has roving. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Clare Says Blog!

So I'll blog - it's been a busy few weeks getting Emma off to school, then preparing for Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair then putting the store back together after the fair. Plus concentrating on some changes upcoming for Pick Up Sticks - all good, I promise!

In between all that I've been knitting - my February Lady Sweater - just sleeves to go, the Woodsy Wrap Baby Jacket by Meghan Jackson for the fair and the Fiddlehead mitts from Hello Yarn and Tanis Fiber Arts (sorry Angela - I couldn't contain myself any longer) hooking my rug, buying my first spinning wheel and trying to spin something that remotely reminds me of yarn. Adding all of my inventory to Quickbooks so I can keep better track of the online inventory - Oh and I found some wonderful Canadian bison yarn from Jacques and Sylvie in PEI - their booth was a hit at the Knitter's Fair and I was lucky enough to become one of their retailers.

So with all of this - wouldn't you think there'd be pictures? I would...... however, the camera is here and camera cords are at the shop. time I promise pictures and also to blog more regularly - ok, Clare?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

And we're back....

We arrived home yesterday afternoon - all my rug hooking supplies arrived safe and sound. Despite having a hardwood frame in my suitcase, it was not over weight. May I just say the Halifax airport has some of the best airport security I've ever seen - beats the pants out of Toronto.

First you have to go through a check in where they ask you if you have any liquids, aerosols or gels in your bag over 100ml. Of course, I answered no because I didn't have any - then it's through the xray machines where my birkenstocks caused some debate because they were going to make the alarm ring - they didn't. Then my carry on went through and it gets handed off to a security guy who looks me straight in the eye and says - Do you understand the rules? Do you understand that you cannot have any liquids, aerosols or gels over 100ml in your bag?

Of course, I understand the rules - there isn't anything like that in there? I say, with a touch of impatience.

Again he says, do you understand that you cannot have any liquids, aerosols or gelss over 100ml in your bag?

Yes! There isn't anything like that in there.

He goes about pulling out all the laptop, cell phone and ipod cords and then reaches in and pulls out my make up bag - and what do you think was in that bag? Shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, mousse and toothpaste - all of which go against the rules. I could have died - I completely forgot they were in there. Going to Nova Scotia they were packed in our checked our bags but coming home because of all the stuff I bought, it wouldn't fit. He looked at me all satisfied with himself and I said - I'm menopausal, I can hardly remember my own name sometimes so you can't expect me to remember what I put in my bag 2 hours ago. I then had to hand over all the offending items so I came home with no shampoo, no conditioner, no body lotion, no mousse and no toothpaste. However, my pointy sticks used for knitting didn't even raise an eyebrow. Not that I could have done much damage with bamboo needles. Lesson learned!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peggy's Cove

Yesterday we drove to Peggy's Cove - we left Lunenburg with the weather all sunny and warm and found fog and cold when we arrived. Our first stop was the Memorial for Swiss Air Flight 111. It was so amazing - such a wonderful tribute to those that died and those that worked tirelessly to help.
Then it was on the Peggy's Cove - such a beautiful place. I've never seen anything like it. Here is the lighthouse which houses the post office - the only post office in the world in a lighthouse.
The lighthouse is completely surrounded by all these rocks which are actually glacial deposits. There's also a sign that says many sight seers have lost their lives to carelessness while wondering around on them. I didn't go too close.

I did go hooking - lots of fun! And one of my commenters knows me very well - there will be some rug hooking beginner kits coming to Pick Up Sticks!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I've been cheating.....

on my knitting - which you will see later in this post but first..... We are enjoying a wonderful week on the east coast in Nova Scotia. We've survived Hurricane Bill, which was actually a kind of non event where we are staying.

Here's my dad and Emma preparing for the storm - we had lots of wind and rain but not much else. By 3pm it was basically over for us although other parts of NS were hit much harder.

Yesterday we went for a drive to Annapolis Valley, primarily to go to Gaspereau Valley Fibers which is a fantastic yarn shop/farm. The shop is in a beautifully restored barn and we even got to meet the sheep that provide the fleece for their own line of yarn.
This is Willy who is by the far the friendliest on the farm and also provided for the knitting gifts I purchased.

Then we stopped for lunch at the Grand Pre Winery. It's absolutely spectacular and the lunch was excellent. We sat outside under the Pergola which is a wonderful flagstone patio covered by grape arbors.

And so now to the cheating.....well, um....I happened to wander into to a rug hooking studio in Mahone Bay called Emcompassing Designs and was extremely taken with everything in there.
Here is Christine (the owner) and Bonnie cutting the wool for the rug that I chose. I've also ordered a kit of Mahone Bay showing the Three Churches.

And this ....well this is my progress so far. I have to say I'm quite taken with this new craft.
And the cheating continues because tonight I'm going to the Hooking Night at the shop.