Archive for May, 2010

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A Knitting Dream

31 May 2010

All we knitters have at some time been told “You could sell that”.  The (non-knitting) friend generally has no idea how much we’d have to charge to recoup the cost of the materials and labour. not to mention adding a little just for profit.

Last week in the UK, the BBC aired a show called High Street Dreams and one of the entrepreneurs featured was a woman called Beryl Ware who wants to break into the big time with her knitted scarves.  You can see a short extract from the show here. 

The scarves are knitted with very thick yarn on very large needles and she sells them retail from her website for up to approx. AU$400.  Strangely,  they’re knitted with merino roving (ie unspun yarn) and I’ve no idea how that stands up to daily use.  One of the big UK High Street stores has placed an order and will sell them for about $300.

The show has raised interesting discussion around the Knitternet about knitting (and other crafts) as a business.  They do seem incredibly expensive for such little work but anything that raises the public’s perception of the value of handmade items is fine by me.  I nearly cried at the Easter Show this year to see what price some of the entrants had put on their labour – one beautiful fine lace scarf with a price tag of $50 for instance.  Who else in a first world country would work for $1 an hour?

I will be very interested to follow Beryl’s progress.

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WWKIP – the Prizes

28 May 2010

I think WWKIP Day is worth attending this year just for the opportunity to win a great prize (as well as, of course, having fun and making new friends).  People and companies have been SO generous in offering prizes for the competitions.

So far we have (in no particular order):

Mosman Needlecraft – A WONDERFUL basket of goodies (you may have seen the one we got last year).  Not sure what’s in it but definitely some Malabrigo and Koigu

Knitabulous Yarns  –  Ailsa’s FANTASTIC hand-dyed yarn

Kaalund Yarns  –  A gift voucher to spend at the Darling Harbour Show (the week after WWKIP)

Celia’s Basket  –  Celia’s SUPERB hand-dyed yarn

Greta’s Handcraft Centre – A gift voucher to spend at the shop in Lindfield

Stitches and Craft Show – Tickets for the show in Sydney, August

Sarah Durrant – Gift voucher to spend online or at the Darling Harbour Show

Morris & Sons   –  KnitPro Sock Blockers and ‘Yummy” sock yarn from FibroNatura

Yarn Workshop  –  Set of 8 KnitPro Symfonie straight needles, in case

Private donation  –  Two Touch Yarns scarf kits

There are TWO competitions this year.  It’s extremely difficult to think of competitions where access to the internet is NOT an advantage and where the entry is either right or wrong (and it’s knitting related).   

The first competition fits those criteria and the winner will win the Mosman Basket – there will be 2nd and 3rd prizes as well.

The second competition is a bit of a silly one, with 2 or 3 prizes depending on the number of entries (Please don’t feel you HAVE to enter either competition).  Bring along some yarn and needles – just small amounts (and if you have any spare small amounts, would you be willing to bring some extra for those who didn’t bring anything?)  This competition is totally judgmental (eg this entry is better than this entry) but I’ll do my best to find a fairly independent judge for it!

The rest of the prizes will be distributed by lottery, so everyone has 3 chances to win something.

Tea and coffee will be available for donation to costs.  And we have canvas tote bags, with this year’s logo, available for sale at $7 each (a wonderful price because we have support from the wonderful folks at Yarn Magazine).  We also have support this year from the City of Sydney, who are providing us with the venue.

For all details about time and place, see my post here.

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“Beauty Tips” by Pompom

26 May 2010

Twice in the last week I’ve met up with friends socially (Hurray!).  And everyone tells me how well I look.

Not in a “You look good for someone who’s been so ill” type of way.  But rather  “You’re looking fantastic.  Your skin looks great and your eyes sparkle”.

So there’s my beauty tip for the month.

Fracture your hip, spend two weeks in hospital, take hefty doses of painkillers for 5 weeks or so.

Because you’re worth it!

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Me Lazy

25 May 2010

In March, while working full-time plus having a fairly active and fun social life, I posted to this blog everyday.

In May, while not working at all and having practically no social life, being confined to the house with crutches, I posted on this blog six times.

I also have lots of jobs to do at home which are within my current capabilities.  Have hardly touched them. 

Which just proves what so many people think – if you want something doing, ask someone who’s busy.

Certainly don’t ask me.

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New Ravelry Group

19 May 2010

The Knitters’ Guild of NSW now has its own official Ravelry Group:

It’s a place where we can share information about upcoming events, help each other with the Achievement Certificates, hear about the latest goodies from our retail members  and just generally mingle with members from other groups.

So if you’re a Guild member, and a Ravelry member, do go and join. 

 

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The Kindness Of Strangers

16 May 2010

When I first wrote about my accident, 10 days after it happened, trying to type on a tiny keyboard from my hospital bed, I mentioned the extraordinary kindnesses I’d received. 

Strangely, when people hear that the accident happened in the street, and I was by myself at the time, so many of them automatically assume that nobody came to my help.  Which is so far from the truth.

Because of the state I was in at the time, I’m not exactly sure how many people helped me – at least 5 – but help me, they certainly did.  Apart from calling an ambulance, one man held my leg in the air for about 15 minutes because having it flat on the pavement was excruciatingly painful.  One woman phoned the office for me.  One shopkeeper came out with 3 or 4 cushions to help make me a little more comfortable (and they ended up in hospital with me.  I did eventually ask someone to return them to him about 5 days later).  And to get me onto the trolley to go into the ambulance involved some sort of hammock affair, which these complete strangers helped to carry – it needed about 8 people.   My handbag came into the ambulance with me with all its contents intact – credit cards, cash, mobile phone etc. 

I have no idea who these people are – and probably will never know – but it confirms what I’ve always thought. 

Most people will do good if the opportunity arises. 

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A Dying Art . . . Part 2

14 May 2010

So a Shetland Island Councillor thinks that knitting is a “dying art”.   

But in September, the Islands are hosting an international knitting conference!  The organisers are hoping it will “foster study and promote the revival of the craft”. 

“Foster study”?  Not in the Shetland Island Schools, it won’t.  “Revival of the craft”?  Perhaps they could discuss this with the Shetland Island Councillors who don’t appear to be aware of any such revival.

And to top it all, the Chief Executive of the Shetland Islands Council, who was appointed in the middle of last year, has been sacked at a cost of 300,000 pounds (which includes a 250,000 pound golden handshake, I believe)!!  That would pay for a few knitting teachers.

One of my blog readers wrote a letter to the Shetland News about this, as a result of which I’ve had lots of visits from Shetland News readers.  Welcome!  If there’s anything we can do to help this situation from the other end of the world, please let me know.  There are a lot of very active knitters down here who acknowledge the massive contribution that the Shetland Islands have played in the history of knitting.  We can’t join you on the picket-line but we can be very vocal in other ways.

  

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A Dying Art? Like Hell It Is.

11 May 2010

The Shetland Islands Council announced last week that they intend to save 130,000 pounds a year by removing knitting lessons from the school curriculum (thank you, Judith, for bringing this to my attention).  The full story from the Shetland News is here.

Every knitter knows the contribution that the Shetland Islands has made, and still makes, to this craft.  Which is why I found it odd that one of their local Councillors should claim that “knitting is a dying art”. 

That’s the sort of comment we all get often from the man/woman in the street as we’re rushing around from one knitting group to another, as we’re drooling over the yarns being produced by some wonderful new indie-dyers and as I’m organising WWKIP in Sydney where I imagine the age range of those attending will be roughly 20-70.  Most of the knitters I know in Sydney are under the age of 45.  A lot are under 30. 

I’m constantly amazed by the work that is being produced by young knitters who didn’t grow up in a household of knitters but who came to it themselves as young adults.   They’re trying new ways of doing things and I’ve learnt so much from them.  I no longer assume that the way I was taught was the RIGHT way – it was just the way my mother and grandmother knitted.  One of the things I love about knitting is that there’s always something new to learn just around the corner.  (Last week I was shown how to produce single row stripes without having to use 4 balls of yarn for instance). 

So knitting certainly isn’t dying in my neck of the woods.  Please don’t let it die in the Shetland Islands. 

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WWKIP Sydney

7 May 2010

WWKIP logo10_1

As you may appreciate, with the “problems” I’ve had lately, I’m a bit behind in the organisation of this year’s event.  But I’m catching up and most arrangements can be made over the internet.  Where I need legs, two good friends have offered me the use of theirs.

So, this is where we are so far:

Saturday 12th June – 1.30:5.00pm   Abraham Mott Community Hall, Argyle Place, Millers Point (The Rocks).  About 10 minutes walk from Circular Quay.  There’s a bus terminus outside the Hall for Routes 431, 432, 433, 434 and 343.

No food is available for sale so feel free to bring your own.  Hot and cold drinks will be provided for a donation to costs.

We have TWO competitions.  The first is a brain-power and knitting knowledge one, with a wonderful 1st prize of a basket of goodies donated by Mosman Needlecraft (and if you saw the basket Debbie donated last year, you’ll certainly want to be entering this).  The second is a knitting competition, just for fun.  If you want to enter, bring along a few grams of yarn (4-8ply) with the appropriate needles or crochet hook, if you prefer.

There will be lots of prizes for both the competitons, plus door prizes.  I’ll give you a list nearer the time but you can look forward to beautiful yarns from Kaalund Yarns, Knitabulous and Celia’s Basket, just for starters.  The event is being supported this year by Yarn Magazine, whose logo will be alongside this year’s Sydney WWKIP one (same style as last year – different yarn) on tote bags available for sale on the day.

 Last year, 80 people turned up and we spilled out of the restaurant.  So this year, we’ve got a bigger venue and here’s hoping we can fill it.  I’m looking forward to seeing loads of you for what I hope will be a really good afternoon of FUN.

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A Day In The Life Of …

6 May 2010

Hobbling Pompom!

I’m still on crutches and likely to be so for another 3-4 weeks, then maybe I’ll be using walking sticks.  This is SO limiting.  All those things that you promise yourself you’ll get done if you’re at home with little to do are totally out of my reach – literally, for a lot of them.  If I drop something on the floor, for instance, it stays there until someone (read “David”) comes along to pick it up. 

I can get out of bed by myself and use the bathroom (but not shower or bathe).  I can now get dressed if the clothes are suitable (elasticated waists etc), I can make myself a hot drink but can’t carry it anywhere, I can sit at my computer, I can sit at the dining table and I can sit on the ghastly pink vinyl chair we’ve hired for the occasion in the sitting room.  I can type, knit, read, watch television and listen to talking books and the radio.  And that’s my day.

Most days I have a visitor which is wonderful.  I’ve had one trip out of the house, to my GP, and today I’m going to a physiotherapist.  A couple of times a day I walk up and down outside for ten minutes or so. 

But there’s loads to be grateful for – it’s just that I can’t always see things that way! 

I’m improving every day.  I’m not in great pain, just uncomfortable sometimes, and am reducing the painkillers. That has the added benefit that my brain isn’t quite so befuddled most of the time!  I’ve started to really enjoy knitting again (I started a baby cardigan this week, and within 24 hours had completed back and both fronts – and I finished a shawl I started in hospital). 

I’ve got a great circle of friends so there’s always someone at the end of a phone line if I fancy a chat.

And I’ve got a wonderful nurse.  Better than Florence Nightingale as I doubt whether she was as good a cook as David.  I don’t know how I’m ever going to repay him for the incredible way he’s dealt with all this but I’ve promised to treat us both to a few days away somewhere before I head back to work. 

So life’s not that bad and I’m well aware it could be so much worse.  How do people get through times like this without the incredible family and friends I have?