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Crafters Corner - Cindy

18816248 10158857837010014 1175966118 nI would like to say thank you to Georgetown Yarns for choosing me as their Fan of the week.

Well when I first became interested in Knitting I was only 9 years old.  One day when I came home from school I seen my mom knitting and I asked her to teach me.

It was a few weeks later I received my first pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn. Mom showed me how to cast on the stitches and then began to show me how to knit. The one thing she did say it will take some practice to get it right. I needed a lot of practice….stitches too loose, stitches too tight, stitches falling off the needles. It took a few weeks to get it going but I finally got it. Once I got the tension going I was happy. I think the first thing I made was a scarf for my doll.  Then I seem to have forgotten about knitting for a long time.

I picked knitting back up when I had gotten married and was wanting to make my new husband at the time a sweater. We were just married and winter was coming so I thought what a great idea it would be to do a sweater for him for Christmas….well like a secret agent I knit the sweater when he wasn’t around. Was feeling so great about doing this for a loved one. Well long story short the body fit him really well, but the sleeves well let say it looked like Popeye’s muscles were over sized and sagging towards the ground. He said he loved it but a little large in the sleeve you can fix it right. I started to laugh and said ya right, never did fix it for him….lol…had a great laugh about. No one ever said anything about gauge didn’t know never did a gauge…lol..

Once my kids were born I decide to try again this knitting thing and well things were working out for me. I made my kids one in pink and one in blue with grey elephant going around the bodice of the sweater and matching hats. Made a sweater for my nephew with a picture of a farm on the back for him. As they got older again I put away my needles….a few years ago decide I am going to try this again and now I am knitting hats for four grandkids and one great nephew. Making dish clothes as well my family love receiving these anytime of the year.

Then found on face book these great posts that have a lot of knitting patterns and different places with yarn. Love sharing these posts on my face book so others get to see too. I look up where their locations are so I can become brave one day and start doing road trips. As the small town I live in doesn’t have any really good yarn shops. My dream was to have a huge craft shop with all different crafts in one place, and helping people learn these skills, but my dreams haven’t got there yet.

Just made myself a shawl and was my first kal project with Marly Bird knit a long….had fun doing that. I am working on Christmas presents for my 4 grand kids new hats and cowls this year and maybe slippers.
I enjoy knitting as I am learning a lot of things like tension, gauge and what is important to have things turn out. I find with the knitting it really helps me relax and go into another world where I forget about issues I don’t want to think about. I love that I can teach my grand kids how to knit as well at least the two oldest show some interest one of each gender are trying….

Crafters Corner - Sam

Sam BallMy grandmother taught me how to knit when I was a little girl.  I sporadically knit scarves until 2006 when a colleague, who was an avid knitter, encouraged me to try something more challenging.  That's when the knitting bug bit me HARD.  I've literally had a project on my needles at all times since then.  I commute from Brampton to Toronto during the week and can often be found knitting away in my seat.  I knit all kinds of things - socks, sweaters, hats, blankets, tea cozies. . . I am absolutely passionate about knitting and have taught a number of colleagues to knit on our lunch hours!  You can check out my projects on Ravelry - my handle is sassywomyn.

Crafters Corner - Janice

Janice Whittaker KoehlerMy mother bought me my first ball of yarn from the drug store when I was 7 years old. It was a bright tangerine-coloured synthetic thing, which I suppose was very appealing to a child. I don’t recall exactly why I had any interest in having this yarn, but I have a feeling that it had to do with the fascination that I had with watching my maternal Grandmother knit.

As my grandmother lived hours away, it wasn’t practical to take up knitting since she wouldn’t be around to help. So given that it was the 70s and crocheting is easy to learn, it only made sense that my first project was a crocheted granny square. Granny squares are very versatile and can be made into coasters, vests and afghans; all of which were popular at that time. It was exciting to see the projects progress so quickly and the positive reactions that I got from everyone when they were complete!

My love of working with yarn grew into macramé and knitting in the years to come, but I didn’t truly commit to knitting until I was about 16. It didn’t take me long to progress into more complex projects such as an Aran knitted sweater. It was incredible that knitting was so simple that only two stitches were involved!

I know that for many, knitting and crocheting is essentially a love affair with the yarn itself. To them, it’s an artistic outlet with an infinite number of potential projects, media and colours. For me, the relationship is quite different. I am probably one of the least artistic people that I know. Throughout my life I’ve always been interested in the technical side of how things are put together, which has ultimately resulted in my becoming an engineer. I see knitting and crocheting as both a challenging technical activity and a way to relax.

Knitting and crocheting started out as a challenge that I needed to conquer. It was my grandmother’s pastime that resulted in her amazingly creating something out of seemingly nothing. What an amazing thing! If she could do it, why couldn’t I? I can recall that my first experiences with learning to crochet and knit were quite a challenge, but with perseverance,projects proceeded quickly anyway. I had immediate gratification!

Now that I’ve been knitting and crocheting for years, there really isn’t a project that I can’t handle if I put my mind to it. The great thing is that I really don’t have to exert much of my mind if I chose not to. If I just want to enjoy the relaxing meditation of doing something with my hands, I can knit a dish cloth or a pair of socks. If I really feel like a challenge, I’ll start a project that requires me to learn a new technique. Yestoe-up socks, I will conquer you yet!

Working with yarn has become a significant part of my life. I’m a much happier person when I’m working with a ball of yarn. Knitting and crocheting is extremely relaxing to me and yet, at the same time, it can be a challenge when that is what I need. What a perfect balance of everything that someone needs in a pastime!

Terry (Janice's patient husband)

When I first met my wife Janice, I had had very little positive experience with yarn. Both my grandmothers knit, but their repertoire was limited to mitts on strings and very ugly afghans. The former had led to merciless teasing at school and the latter assailed my senses as a bench cover during the countless hours of practice for piano recitals and exams. Personally my only experience was rug hooking. Mom took me out of school for a week when she had over-committed to her first and only yarn project, a very large rug project for a baby shower gift. It turned out that 9 years of piano lessons had given me the finger dexterity that she lacked.

When I first spied the knitting on the coffee table at Janice’s grandparent’s place, where she was living during a work term in Deep River, I naturally assumed that the project belonged to her grandmother. I couldn’t help but notice the copious quantity of graph paper, taped together carefully with pencil crayon coloured squares. It was only later that I realized the considerable mathematical skill that can come into play while working out the patterns which transform a single strand of material into both beautiful and utilitarian objects.

I came to realize when we got back to school the very therapeutic nature of knitting for Janice. Knitting project acceleration was always observed during exams, as a means of stress relief, and came with the benefit of producing parental Christmas gifts. After leaving her job following the birth of our second child, a knitting circle (referred to colloquially as a “Stitch-and-Bitch”) provided a social outlet that allowed her to connect with a new social group. Knitting was a common interest that allowed her something to bond with a very diverse group of individuals for whom her engineering career might have seemed intimidating.

Her love affair with yarn is nearly 40 years old and material that comes out of the trans-dimensional space, known as the craft-closet, all has stories of the initial project it was bought for. Many an enjoyable conversation (and bottles of wine) has been spent discussing the stories associated with this or that yarn. Stories of friends, lost to time, for whom projects were completed or the long train of owners of a given sweater are all tales that contain a vivid portrait of memories. Time may move inexorably forward, but yarn seems to have the ability to provide a window to the past.

Helpful hints for living with a yarner (those who knit, crochet, and generally transform yarn into some creation or another):

 Unless the project is very complicated, they can still carry on a conversation whilst working on the project. Ignore them at your peril.

 There is no maximum number of projects that can be on the go at one time, especially socks. The answer is always “Yes”, when the question is does “so-and-so” need a new pair of socks. Sock projects take up less space around the house, have a high ratio of time spent to material used (read less loss of living room real estate) and are universally appreciated by the recipients.

For the sake of a very full craft-closet in the spare bedroom and a few projects scattered around the house, yarn has provided a past time which has never failed to provide a sense of history and peace to both Janice and those closest to her.