Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thanks Creativ and Happy Birthday to Us

The Creativ Festival was incredible - we had the pre-show jitters ("What if no one comes? What if they think its lame?"). Any of those thoughts completely disappeared within 1 hour of the show opening. We had 10 -15 people at our booth at all times, asking questions, knitting squares, offering donations, and generally cheering us on. We met some of the rock stars of knitting, Mags Kandis, Lucy Neatby and Wanietta, as well as many altru-knitters.

An incredible number of warm hearted people came over to the booth with donations, kind words, questions, and great skills. Many, many thanks to you who sat with us and knit and crocheted during the weekend. We won't soon forget the sight of sometimes a dozen people, hands busy, working on squares or stitching squares together into blankets. There were times when people had to sit on the floors because chairs were overflowing! The yarn and needles were donated by Moda Dea and Susan Bates, and we got many many compliments and questions about the materials - gorgeous to knit with. We finished 4 blankets at the show, and we'll have a few more before we are through. We'll post photos when we have them - Anita and I carried what we could on the train, and Joyce is bringing the rest on the weekend for us. Thanks for the rescue, there, Joyce.

So, back to the show - our first night, we met up with Dilys (Sew Be It Studio) in person for the first time. And, who should be knitting at the next table, but
Wanietta, Canada's fastest knitter. A great knitter, and wonderful, funny story teller. Stephanie, we'll be pulling for you as fastest crocheter next year. This contest will stick with us, because they donated the strips and squares that were produced during the contest to us, and we'll be assembling them into blankets.

At the show, we met
Mags Kandis in person. She was lovely to meet, and donated some of her sample items to our cause. Thank you, Mags, once again. She even signed my copy of her book. Her booth was across from ours at the show, beside Rose Haven Farms. What lovely yarns they have! Our neighbours were alpacas. No, really, they brought in some live alpacas to the show. At the end of the show, I caved and bought some black alpaca yarn. That will be a real pleasure to work with.

Then, there were the women of the
Toronto Downtown Knit Collective. We feel like we were adopted for the weekend! Denise, Joan, and all the others - you were wonderful! Your generosity is well appreciated, and we both wish we could get to a few meetings. What a resource to the city, and to our project this weekend.

And we met Lucy Neatby, who was very kind and interested in our project. She hasn't heard the last of us, I am afraid!

Check out the pictures of the show. We can't go too far without mentioning our amazing sponsors (you can link to them on the right sidebar): The Creativ Festival (of course), Air Labrador, the Toronto Hilton, Fleece Artist, Susan Bates and Moda Dea yarn.

Many people mentioned that they'd like to drop off additional items - that's great. We're looking for things before December 31st. You can leave them at any of our drop-off locations in Toronto or Ottawa (see right side-bar for addresses).

So here's what we learned at the show: Knitters and crochetters have hearts of gold. Even the rock stars of knitting and other booth owners came took the time to come over and cheer us on, grabbing a ball of yarn at times, and knitting us a square at their own booths. People we had only met by e-mail came, gave us their time and energy, and made our cause their cause.

People are good.

And finding that out was the best 40th birthday present you could have given us.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Amy and Anita

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jeanine's Knitting and Peter's flying

We're heading to Creativ tomorrow and we're completely psyched! Its insane how excited we are about the whole thing. Don't forget, the show starts at the Metro Toronto Convention centre on Friday and ends on Sunday. Its huuuuuuge and very very fun if you're even vaguely crafty. If you're a hard-core knitter, beader, spinner, etc, you will lose your mind, guaranteed. So come! We're at booth #909 - Mags Kandis is right across from us, and she'll be signing copies of her books. Mention the blog so we know that you're reading.

Check out Jeanine Turcotte's mitten rainbow - very cool. She also made a bunch of hats and sweaters in a variety of sizes. Jeanine, we'll be sending the bigger sized items to Mongolia - Dulaan tells us that the larger items go to young adults or parents which helps the go to work and bring income into the family - everybody wins.

On another note, my buddy Peter took me flying on a two-seater last weekend. There's nothing like flying 3000 feet above Ottawa to make you say, "I love this city". Check out the pics of Peter and me (my lid got a bit crazy with all the wind), and the shot of the Gatineau escarpment by air. We also buzzed little Stevie van Harper on Parliament Hill. Only in Canada can you fly over our government in a Cessna and not get nailed by snipers. How lucky are we?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pie night and knitting

Another grey day with wierd weather. I sent the kids to school without raincoats. Maybe taking a minute to look out the window in the morning would help... especially since the leaves are hanging on pretty well this year. Our maple tree is still quite green and the birch tree is quite yellow.

I picked up some beautiful sweaters, hats and scarves this week from Yarn Forward. A big thank you to the knitters, including Madeleine! And thank you to Yarn Forward for continuing to be our drop off point here in Ottawa. We know there has been much more delivered than we ever thought!

We are very excited to be shifting gears and gathering for the Innu children and families now. We sent over 150 items to afghans for Afghans over the summer and through September. What an accomplishment! I mean, knitters are great people, but this really has passed my expectations. Again, it is too bad there isn't a way to show how these items feel - there are some lovely yarns here, and very well knit!

On a lighter note, it was pie night this week! The apples have been so great this fall, and now there are six pies in my freezer, six more at my partner in pie making's freezer, and one for a yet-to-be-scheduled girls night.

And, Creativ is just one week away! Yikes! Where did the time go?!! We are both looking forward to meeting more wonderful knitters, and seeing how many blankets we can put together at the show! Come and see us! We will have some beautiful Moda Dea Washable Merino to make into blankets at the show, and a spot for to sit and knit with us. Or crochet!

This is a rainbow we spotted from the window of the Wakefield Steam Train. It is was quite close to our friend Ron's house, so we are hoping the gold at the end of this rainbow will be his return to full health very soon. Here's to Ron!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dinner, and a little planning

What a nice evening! Anita and her family, and an old friend with hers, came over for lasagne. A meal where I can sit and enjoy a visit instead of cooking. I don't have one of those kitchens where someone can have a glass of wine on the other side of the island while I finish cooking. When we say, "please don't help clear the table" after dinner, it's because there is no room left on the tiny counter for another thing.

Anyway, we are counting down! 11 days until Creativ! We won't be in Toronto in time for Mags Kandis' book launch, sadly, but we are set for some fun at the show! We're hoping you'll drop by and knit a square with us - or crochet one, or bring a donation. And stay for a chat.

Time to tuck some children into bed. They want to visit their webkinz first, now that they have seen the computer on.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Creativ Festival News

Just thought I'd repeat the post on the Creativ Festival Guidelines for those who are knitting to a deadline:

1. The Creativ Festival is North America's biggest crafters festival, and will be held in TO Oct 26 through 28th this year. It will be at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

See the sidebar to our site under drop-offs for a link to them. If you're into knitting, scrapbooking, crochet, sewing.... and more, you should go! Tons of exhibits, tons of raffles and prizes, contests for the fastest knitter, and (best of all) you can buy enough stuff to feed your crafty desires through the winter months.

2. The Warm Hands Network (that's us) will be there. We have booth #909. You can drop off your newly knit items to us at the show - we're collecting mainly for the Innu kids shipment, and the need is for any size - hats, sweaters, mittens, socks, gaiters and blankets. We'd love to meet you and thank you personally for your contribution.

3. Creativ offers free admission to anyone who brings in a newly knit (hand-knit) sweater or blanket for our project. I'm putting emphasis on the newly knit for two reasons: first, these items are going to be holiday gifts for the kids in Northern Labrador - we think that each kid deserves something new. As the recipient of many a hand-me-down, I think my little sister can attest to the fact that there's something really sweet about opening up something that was made especially for you. Secondly, its part of our deal with Creativ - we're only taking in new stuff at the show.

4. Because they are warmest, we're trying to focus on natural fibres or natural fibre blends. Please avoid 100% acrylic or poly.

5. Come by and see us at the booth, and knit a square! We're being sponsored by Moda Dea yarn and Susan Bates needles so we're going to be knitting blankets all during the show. Come try out the goods.

6. We're going to have a cool little raffle for a Fleece Artist kit - see our last post for more info.

Can't wait to meet you.


big or little

Big or Little is a popular book with my 3 and 1/2 year old son. It's about a child who knows that sometimes he is big, and sometimes he is little.

I have finally gotten over my fear of intarsia and knit the Mags Kandis Hugs and Kisses hat. I still love working with Mission Falls Yarn! But, I have always been more of a stripes or texture gal - I have knit a few christmas stockings with intarsia, and still have a half knit one which I had to pull out so many times that the white from Santa's beard was pink from rubbing on the red. But, this came together nicely, no irritating parts to pull out and start again, and no lumps left. I will have to sew up the sides - I was willing to adventure into intarsia, but not knitting in the round, yet.

And, since the Parent Support Program in Shesashuit tries to give a baby shower to the new moms in the community, I played with the pattern and came up with Little Hugs and Kisses. I think it will fit a baby. So, Thank You to Mags Kandis - this is a very fun hat, and I hope you don't mind that I played with it.

By the way, we just got the yarn for the Fleece Artist kits. They are Elmira patterns and in three different colours (one swatch below). The yarn is Blue Face Aran, which is incredibly soft. The Elmira kits give you one Amelia hat pattern and one set of gauntlet gloves (check out the picture below). Here's the deal for the kits: drop off an item at our booth: you get a raffle ticket; sit and knit a square: hey! another ticket; don't have time to knit or drop off something? make a donation (you choose the amount), and you get a ticket. Sweet? We think so.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Let's Go, Toronto!

Here are the first donations from Toronto! Yay! Beautiful scarves, beautiful hats, some lovely surprise sweaters and a georgeous sweater and hat set.

Thanks to Alice for picking them up and bringing them to me. They are going to go to Afghans!

And, a press release went out from Creativ talking about our campaign.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

14 Days to Creativ!

Well, the countdown to Creativ is a short one! Just 2 weeks from tomorrow, we will be getting on the train and heading for Creativ! We are getting some "doodads" ready, and hoping that knitters and crocheters will come by our booth and donate something they knit or crocheted, or make a square for us at the show and we'll make 'em into blankets. And, don't forget, it's free admission if you bring a newly knit/crocheted blanket or sweater for the cause! The doodad preparation has been fun - we were at a cottage in Haliburton this weekend, and I brought the stuff. Thanks to an old friend, Nancy, and my mother in law, Joyce (joycejamestours.com) for giving a helping hand.

So, please come by and say hello. Stay a while, sit and knit with us. Try out some great yarn, Moda Dea washable yarn.

And, I can't resist a big congratulations to Liz Hay for being on the shortlist for the Giller Award, for her new book, Late Night on Air. It's a great read.