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Visit us in the quaint hamlet of Myrtle Station, ON at: 9585 Baldwin St. N. (905)655-4858
(17.8km north of 401 exit 410. Look for the green house with the red roof a few doors north of the Myrtle Station railroad tracks)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

MIse-En-Place

My mom, Mrs Ferguson, subscribes to "The Knitter" magazine from England, and kindly gave me her October issue. It is the one with a free gift every month in a cellophane wrapper at the newsstand.
The magazine has a nice knitting vibe, comfortable and stylish with a touch of whimsy.
The Alan Dart pattern is especially appealing, so much so that I may once again have a cat. I have made quite a few of Jean Greenhowe toys, this is the first Alan Dart, and likely not the last. Maybe mice next, in tutu's
My beautiful Noel had to find a new home, as she kept making a break for it when the front door would open, of course not realizing how busy (and deadly to animals) Highway 12 is. She certainly wasn't a scaredy cat at all and I understand she is very happy with her new family.
My (not so) Scaredy Cat will be just as stylish, though not as energetic. I promise to contribute to him every day. Cyrils' English cousin is made with Hayfield Bonus DK. There is a wider colour range of this yarn available to knitters in the UK. The Paprika colour especially. I found a substitute in my stash.
He will be a mix of vintage Hayfield Grampian, Sirdar Country Style, Paton's Beehive Astra (made in Toronto) and for his furry self Kitten from Sandnesgarn.
From a practice us use in hand weaving, cardboard and tape preview the colour combination, so helpful. There is more detail about this process in the post for the the Acheson scarf.
I also like to rewind the yarn and completely assemble a working area, what a chef would call mise-en-place. Everything ready for the daily exercise.
Because the parts are so small, and sometimes parked for a while I use a 5 piece set of double pointed needles turned into short pairs with cute Clover stoppers for the ends. Organizing this way gives me 2 sets and a spare, thus lots of options for open and waiting "live" bits

The portable knitting desk is a piece of ceiling tile covered in a cherished piece of rayon. I use thumb tacks and some flannelette to finish the back side
Yes, Cyril is on the way for Hallowe'en 2018!

Friday, November 10, 2017

An Offer of Warmth

An Offer of Winter Warmth

Here at Myrtle Station, we are completely confident that wool is the natural and almost magical fiber for maximum warmth. 
To quote Elizabeth Zimmerman from her excellent book Knitting Without Tears

“Soft wool from the simple silly sheep can be as fine as a cobweb, tough and strong as string, or light and soft as down. There are scientific reasons why wool is the best material for knitting, and into these I will not go. I only know that is it warm, beautiful and durable. Woollen socks never become cold and clammy, however wet. A woollen sweater is so water-resistant that when dropped overboard it floats long enough to give you ample time to rescue it. The surface of caps and mittens made of wool repels all but them most persistent downpours.”
So for winter 2017, we have grouped 150 grams of Alafoss Lopi a full aran weight yarn into kits. Knitters can fashion a cozy hat (or mittens) using a pattern suitable for aran or worsted weight wool of their choice.
As a bonus, purchase one kit for 10$, then bring in the hat (or mittens) made with the kit yarn and we will give you a 10$ gift certificate towards any in-store purchase. We will collect the donations on an ongoing basis and deliver them to charity on a monthly basis throughout the fall, winter, and spring.
Though you probably have a favorite pattern of your own, we are also offering links and patterns we enjoy. The Cactus pattern free on the Garnstudio website is a good one. It is a broken rib pattern, just interesting enough.
And 2 free patterns at “myrtlestationwool@blogspot.com. A simple stocking stitch rolled brim hat and a twisted rib version called Madelana's hat.
We hope you enjoy the yarn as well as offering true winter warmth this season
We wish you fruitful and joyous knitting!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Madelena's Touque

My Italian mother in law, Madelena Favro was an incredible person and a super intuitive knitter/dressmaker. She only had to look at a picture of a sweater or garment, to create it. No pattern, no fuss, just great skill and patience. It has a nice deep 4 inch rib that covers the ears with a double thickness. 2 by 2 rib is my favorite stretchy stitch for cuffs and hats, rather accordion like.
My father in law, Alessandro enjoyed working in the garden in all seasons, so Madelena asked him to get her some yarn (from Towers) and she would make him a Canadian hat.. a toque. It kept him warm for many years as well as protecting his head from the low beam in the cellar.
Madelena used only double pointed needles, sometimes 6 or 7 in order to accommodate the number of stitches she needed for a sweater. I am pretty sure she only used 4 for this hat, and so did I, in her honour.
Byron fixed these needles for me. They are actually 2 pairs of my precious Clover Bamboo. He cut off the knobs and sanded the ends to a point. Beautiful!
I used vintage Alafoss Flos wool mohair, 100 meters per 50 grams, on a 4.5 likely about 80 grams not including  a pom pom, which Madelena included in the original .
If you wish a copy of (my best guess of) her pattern, please email me and I will happily to send you the PDF.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Trip to the Textile Museum

As a huge fan of Brandy Agerbeck, the amazing graphic facilitator, she highly recommends the occasional whim day for a well-deserved boost of joy. Following her wise advice I took the GO train to Toronto for a jaunt.
A bit of shopping, hiking the city streets and having lunch with my friend Pat after a visit to the Toronto Textile Museum describes the perfect whim day for me.
The peaceful mid-morning GO train ride, knitting, drinking coffee and gazing out the window, all travel perfection. This hat in process is for our "Offer Of Winter Warmth" program. The free "Cactus" pattern is available on the Garnstudio website. The Broken rib stitch requires just enough attention.
The view of that great inland sea... Lake Ontario through Pickering and Rouge Hill is a longtime pleasure for me. At the age of 18, I traveled to work at an insurance office in the city and GO service had just begun and provided the opportunity to travel past the lake on a daily basis. The shoreline has changed, but not the lake itself, making timeless moments for me.
My friend, neighbour and fellow hand weaver Pat Neal, owner of the Naked Lamb Weaving Studio, in south Myrtle, is also the Director of Operations at the Textile Museum. She was absolutely spot on about this being a great time to visit.
The current exhibition "Diligence and Elegance", The nature of Japanese textiles" runs until January 21st, 2018. The title theme brilliantly captures the spirit of the exhibit and curatorial arrangements.
Being a textile enthusiast and longtime admirer of Japanese craft culture, the experience was pure joy for me. It is a mix of garments, videos, and photos of artists and craftspeople working their magic.
The colour combinations are so striking. Japanese live a completely different colour palette, which triggered a kind of happy awakening for me. I remember feeling the same way from my machine knitting days when the educators from Japan shared their work.
When our shop was in downtown Whitby, 
we carried several knitting machines brands from Japan. 
Part of our responsibility was to participate in educational workshops
 led by expert Japanese knitters, enabling us to offer solid customer learning.
Although machine operation is important, vision, material preparation, 
blocking and assembling are an equal, if not more important practice in the garment/art/craft result.
Spending a good chunk of the afternoon with this stunning work was an amazing opportunity, and helped me remember why I enjoy finishing knitwear is so much.
The kimono exhibit recalled those times of "vision to process to completion" 
vividly, especially watching the in-depth videos provided to help visitors understand
 in greater depth what is required to arrive at a completed kimono.
Having a vision, planning the steps, applying skill from years of practice, 
result in these works of art. I especially enjoyed the films showing how younger artists are mentored.
This fireman's jacket, for example, so looks simple from a distance. 
Close up inspection reveals depth given to all elements of production, superb dyeing, tailoring and element placement. Consideration for the practical end use in harmony with the aesthetics.
Then there is the luscious museum shop to explore. I settled on this lovely "whimsical" pin, similar to one Pat was sporting on her cardigan. It is made by Wanda Shum, incredible skill!
We want for lunch to a nearby Thai restaurant 
and enjoyed a lovely vegetarian meal.
A perfect whim day!