Library Cards!

cardSeptember is Library Card Sign up Month! To celebrate (and to encourage you to visit your local library), here are our seven fave books available in the Calgary Public Library system:

mason dixon book review1. Mason Dixon: The Curious Knitters Guide by Kaye Gardiner & Anne Meador Shayne

Written by a pair of knitting enthusiasts with a fun approach to knitting, this book features easy, inspiring patterns that can be knit or crocheted up from a variety of yarns. From felted, handled boxes to the scribble scarf, you will be hard pressed not to find a pattern that inspires you to pick up your needles and try something new.

All wound up book review2.  All Wound Up: The yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Just about the best darned knitting humourist out there (are there others?) and CANADIAN to boot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has done it again and written a knitting book that is helpful. insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny. ANY book by this author is well worth the read. Her blog, the Yarn Harlot, is a great glimpse into her style, which can best be described as “a real person wrote this who doesn’t mind  some self depreciating humour and feels as irritated/guilty/frazzled as we are when the house is messy.” You will want to be her friend and invite her over for wine and a good discussion about Battlestar Galactica.

Last Minute Knitted Gifts book review3.  Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (available as a library e-book)

Written by the owner of Purl Soho (one of STASH’s fave knitting shops in New York City), this book became an instant classic when released. Filled with luscious photography and clever, quick project ideas, the hardest part is deciding which pattern to knit up first. Also worth checking out is More Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Both books are available as e-books!

Simple Times book review4. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People – By Amy Sedaris

So funny that it borders on offensive (it has a chapter called Crafting for Jesus – you have been warned) , this book is nothing short of insane. Amy Sedaris, little sister to creative non-fiction genius David Sedaris, likes to take the clean cut mythologies of Martha Stewart craftiness and just mangle them. She does kitsch dead pan, isn’t afraid to look like a lunatic while doing it, and even suggests pre-crafting stretching exercises in 1980′s leotards. This book is AWESOME.

teeny tiny book review5. Teeny Tiny Moichimoichi by Anna Hrachovec (available as a library e-book)

At STASH we are big fans of anything knit small, so prepare for your mind to be blown away by … Continue reading

Malabrigo MADNESS

Screen shot 2013-08-27 at 1.51.42 PMI’ll keep this quick so that you can skip immediately to the awesome Malabrigo pattern links (below the photos), but I’m just going to say that Malabrigo RASTA always blows my mind with it’s intense, colourful beauty.

Screen shot 2013-08-27 at 1.52.19 PM

What to knit with it? Here are three STASH Ravelry faves, AND a free pattern from STASH, called Chunky Rib Toque!

  • Ovate, by Tori Gurbisz – a paid pattern, great into to chunky lace knitting, uses one or two skeins, depending on which of 2 shawl options you choose.
  • Drop Stitch Cowl by Abi Gregorio – a free pattern (and STASH fave). One skein will get you a cowl if you modify the pattern to be shorter, or two skeins will get you a generous show stopper of a finished piece!
  • Rainbow Twist by Thao Nguyen – A bulky cable cowl that let you wear your RASTA like an object d’art. It is also free and uses only one skein.
  • Want more ideas? Follow this link to Ravelry and scroll through the plethora of project ideas that have been done with RASTA. Don’t forget to breathe.

    Robo-hack Attack!

    Ohmigod I missed the STASH blog! If you liked to peek at this page but it disappeared it was because we were robo-hacked by evil, purse-selling, converse shoe-lovin’, gambling addicts who inserted malicious code into everything. It was awful.

    But three weeks and a lot of house cleaning later I think we may have nipped the problem in the bud, so to speak. Knock on wood. Cross yer’ fingers. Pray to the blogging gods…

    So feel free to check back and read some new posts or, alternately, see if we have yet again been taken over by the borg!

    Shake off the Flood Mud

    Today our friend Nan contacted us about helping out a knitter who lost her stash of yarns in the Calgary floods, and darn it if she didn’t help us figure out how an odd little yarn shop can do something for flood victims, evacuees, and knitters who just need a break from the sheer madness of the past week?

    So here you go, STASH is having a party…

    STASH Relief Party

    Basically, we are donating piles of lovely yarns from our personal collections, plus needles and pattern books, to those who may have lost it all and to those can’t yet return to what they have. We know how special a STASH of yarn can be, how comforting knitting is, and how sad it must be to have neither in your life when you might really need it most.

    Even if you haven’t been personally affected by loss due to the flooding we want you to attend just to de-stress and feel a bit more normal again! Bring your knitting (or crochet, or other handy crafty thang you do) for our knitting circle and enjoy tea, coffee, and snacks! We want you to have fun at STASH with door prizes and other knitastic shenanigans!

    You can also help by contributing a ball or two from your own stash to the pile so that we can outfit stash-less knitters with inspiring new yarns to replace that which was lost.

    So we hope to see you there and hope that all is well in your world!

    The top 3 summer yarns at STASH

    What makes for a good summer yarn? At STASH our criteria are: that it is a cotton blend so that we don’t die of heat exhaustion while knitting with it, that the yarn lends itself well to summery projects, and that it has a palette to remind us
    Captiva of beaches and sunshine, not snowflakes and hot cocoa. Based on these points, here are our top three picks!

    Number 3Berroco’s Captiva ($7/skein) puts a bit of shimmer into summer knitting! It has a slightly metallic sheen yet comes in soft, natural-based colours (we have six colours) so that whatever you make with it, it’s gonna look pretty darn good!

    Our plan is to knit up this unstructured vest with Captiva (a Berroco free pattern!) and then wear the heck out if it all summer long!

    OuterNumber 2 –  You can get your bulky knitting fix with Outer by Spud & Chloe (&18/skein), a cotton/wool blend that makes summer chunky knitting a pure delight! Using 9 mm to 10 mm needle size to whip up  a light and frothy project, this yarn is perfect for fast summer knits without all of the heavy heat of a regular bulky wool project, and we carry it in 9 colours. From baby blankets to quick summer scarves, this is one versatile bulky knit!

    Number 1 - STASH’s official number one summer yarn pick is Blue Sky Alpaca’s Organic Worsted Cotton ($14/skein). Not only does it come in the most kickass palette of colours (we carry sixteen of them!), this yarn is freakishly soft to boot! At 137 meters it is also a pretty generous skein for such a high quality yarn, and the 4.5 mm to 5.5 mm suggested needle size

    Organic Worsted

    makes it a versatile yarn for any worsted and aran weight pattern. Just when you think it can’t get any better, this yarn isn’t a

    heavy cotton that just drags down – instead it is a proven perky knit (and crochets up extremely well too!).

    This yarn is so beloved a STASH that we are using it for our Summer Drop Stitch Cowl class, and pet it adoringly every time we walk past it.

    Another Man’s Treasure

    a treasure awaitsMy husband and I are pretty hard-core collectors – you name it, we collect it! Together we form one collecting super-monster that rampages through thrift shops antique malls, auctions, yard sales, and online ads as if we have all the room in the world store our sweet finds.

    This spells Trouble (note the capital “T”) and now we have to thin the ranks of our rad stuff so that we can enjoy our home without ending up on an episode of Hoarders. Hyperbole? Probably but what is for sure is that our yard sales tend to completely kick ass.

    Our latest yard sale is being held just outside the doors of STASH on may 25th, from 9 am to 5 pm, rain or shine! We have LP's, vintage kitchenwares, housewares, books, magazines, curios, and craft supplies.  What else? Electronics, radios, lamps, chairs, and any other poor object that our gaze falls upon and doesn't make the cut.  And then some other great stuff too, that we simply haven't even thought of yet.

    Our yard sale is a part of the Inglewood Parade of Garage Sales happening on the same day, and we will be giving out free maps to all of the other treasure troves in the hood! So pop by STASH, check out our sale, and then keep on hunting for more finds throughout Inglewood!

    We hope to see you there.

    Swept away by UPPERCASE…

    STASH hearts UppercaseUPPERCASE Magazine has the most amazing capacity to make me absolutely freak out every time I open an issue. This is not an exaggeration – an audio recording of my first look at their latest issue would sound something like ” Ohmygod they have an article on Tintypes – wait, oh this is a place where you can get your portrait done in tintype holy moly there’s an entire section on rug hooking who is that talented gal, arghh and of course that studio is amazingwhattheheck I looooove this issue” or something to that effect.

    Janine Vangool, publisher, editor, and designer of UPPERCASE Magazine, has paired her passion for publishing with a keen eye for all that is creative and clever. This magazine is so obviously crafted with love (which is certainly STASH-approved) that it simply drips with delicious detail. From the vintage page tabs with typewritten labels to the careful selection of paper on which the publication is printed, the magazine is a work of art in itself.

    STASH hearts sign makersEach issue has a theme and this issue, #16, hits particularly close to home for STASH. Focusing on the art of the traditional and handmade, issue #16 features interviews with modern artists who are creatively exploring traditional crafts in a modern world. Fibre artists, sign makers, ceramicists, traditional workwear manufacturers, broom makers, rug hookers, knitters, illustrators… Be still my beating heart!

    Studio tours of creative spaces abound in each issue, and this issue will whisk you away to a former hospital/current art institution in Stockholm, a former cannery/current hub of creative businesses in Brooklyn, and even a tour of the home of Victoria Smith, AKA San Francisco Girl by the Bay. The gorgeous photography lets you explore these creative space as if you were there, and provie an initmate portrait of the people that each space reflects.

    If you haven’t had a chance to look through a copy of UPPERCASE Magazine, STASH does have the latest issue available and I can almost guarantee that it will be love at first sight.

    I’ll stop gushing now.

    My Pinterest Addiction

    STASH hearts PinterestI'm gonna say it: Pinterest makes me MAD with DELIGHT. Not only does Pinterest appeal to my natural hoarding tendencies it also appeals to my love of all things clever. And OH the clever things to find on Pinterest!

    Crochet pin cushions! It's the strangest sensation to be so attached to something that does not even exist in reality. My boards are not real boards, yet I rearrange them and curate them as if they were on my living room wall! Starting a new board is a decision not to be taken lightly, nor is deleting one (can you even delete a board? I’ve never been so insane as to consider it – hours of “work” would just go down the drain!).

    A lovely shop on PinterestThe most appealing thing to me is that I can follow the thought patterns and taste preferences of a total stranger in a totally awesome place and get a glimpse at ideas that I never would have found myself. While I do not have the luxury of walking down the streets of Copenhagen or New York to browse mind-blowingly adorable shops, some wicked designer there does, and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for taking pictures while doing it.

    I also like that I can share these finds and gems with you, because inspiration is contagious, and Pinterest is one of those rare things that help spread yummy goodness like the flu.

    So keep on pinning on!

    Gifts to give Knitters

    How do you shop for a knitter? To non-knitters, knitting appears to be a mysterious, cryptic, and slightly magical hobby; one that involves using long, strange, wand-like sticks to transform squishy yarns into wearable works of art. While every woman loves to have an air of mystery about her, she also likes to get fun stuff for the holidays.

    So here is STASH's guide to gifts to give knitters!

    Give an experience at STASHPick # 4- Give knitting experiences. Normally I don;t advocate giving gift certificates and the only reason that this is on the list is because when a knitter gets a gift certificate for a yarn shop, they are also essentially getting permission to treat themselves to yarns, classes, and other goodies without any worry about cost. They might pick out something to knit for themselves and not give it away!  They might learn how to knit a mitten! That, my friends, is a gift of love.

    Super soft alpaca yarns at STASHPick # 3 – Super nice, squishy yarns. Too vague? If you ever have the chance, take a look at what your knitting friend is working on, and take note of how thick or thin it is, what colour, or any other interesting aspect. if you really want to Nancy Drew it up, dig into their knitting bag when they are not looking and take a pic of the label! Bring your sleuthy info with you to a yarn shop and the staff can then help you really crack the case of “The Knitter who needs More Wool”.

    Give the gift of sanityPick # 2 – Woolygig. Also known as yarn holder, ball holder, or other succinct but bland names, the woolygig is a lovely hand made item to keep a knitter's yarn from whipping around the floor, under the couch, around chair legs, or other bizarre, tangled configurations while knitting. All that they do is place their ball of wool on the spindle and then the spindle of wool turns as the knitter pulls on it. A newer knitting accessory, many knitters have yet to even discover this gem and you will truly surprise them!

    Spin yarn right round baby right round, like a record bay right round, round round!Pick # 1 – Swift & ball winder. This is number one for personal reasons. I got my first ball winder and swift as a Christmas gift and they are cherished tools in my knitting life. Swifts and ball winders are used to transform a skein of yarn into a knit-able ball in mere minutes. They are ridiculously fun to use, they save so much time, yet knitters rarely buy them for themselves. However, when a knitter gets … Continue reading