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Crazy for Ewe

Snopes for knitters

Snopes for knitters

Or the top ten lies knitters tell themselves

  1. I’ll just use the needle size the designer recommends – it’ll be fine. The truth is that the designer only tells you what size he or she, or other knitters used to get the gauge in that pattern with that yarn.  You may knit very differently than the designer or the test knitters, so you always have to swatch. 
  2. My swatch is too big -- I’ll just fix that when I block it. There are a lot of ways you can manipulate your fabric when you block it, but making it smaller is not one of them. Bigger, yes. Smaller? No.continue
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Big words and short rows

Big words and short rows

My father, God rest his soul, was not a fan of big words.  Although he was a linguist and had an expansive vocabulary, he believed that communication should be clear and direct.  My maternal grandmother, however, did not.  One fidgety afternoon as the chair seat itched my sweaty little legs, I reached for a fourth golden butterscotch. “No more candy, Ellen,” Daddy said, “Sugar rots your teeth.” Grandma’s face looked like she’d bitten a lemon. “Rot is such a vulgar word,” she announced.

Laughing, he quickly rephrased, “No more candy, Ellen. Sugar has a deleterious more

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Five unexpected reasons to swatch

Five unexpected reasons to swatch

At the shop, I say “You’ll have to swatch it and see,“ at least fifty times a day.  That guidance is always met with a groan or at least a heavy sigh.  Knitters hate to swatch.  I get it.  We want get started NOW, because the project is going to take a while, and swatching feels like a waste of precious knitting time. 

Casting on a big project without swatching is like marrying someone we met at the bar last night.  It might work out great, but maybe not, and it could be a while before we figure out that it was a horrible mistake.  By then, we’ve already invested so much time and energy that we’re tempted to just soldier on and hope it gets better and turns out okay. It doesn’t.  As painful as it is, just cut your losses and head to the frog pond – Rip it, rip it, rip it. 

Love it or hate it, swatching is important, and here are five things more

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Where you belong

Where you belong

Before Covid, I used to go to quite a few networking events – you know, graying men in blue suits drinking cheap red wine from plastic tumblers. They’re all in a group laughing about something.  All the big important businesses and all the big important people, with all the important titles.  Eventually one of them notice the blond woman in the sweater looking at her wine glass and wishing she hadn’t come.  It goes like this:

“So, what do you do, young lady?” he asks. 

“I own a yarn store, Crazy for Ewe, in downtown Leonardtown,” I tell him. 

If this were a cartoon strip, you would see the thought bubble above his head fill with

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The time to do it is before you're ready

The time to do it is before you're ready
Our son Colton is going off to college this fall, good Lord willing, but I worry that he isn’t ready. The piles of clothes he steps over on his way to his unmade bed each night, evidence of his lack of laundry skills, and a host of other things that make me think he should mature another year.  I was railing on about this the other morning to my husband, Bill, man of few words, who listened and calmly sipped his coffee “I don’t know if he can even get up on his own to make it to class!” I ranted.  When I finished presenting the evidence of Co Continue reading

Why Rowan?

Why Rowan?

People start knitting for all different reasons. I started when I was in college because I always loved sweaters, and I wanted to make my own. Sure, I loved having it as a creative outlet since I had run out of places to put my needlepoint, and yes, it was enormously helpful to knit while I put off all the papers I had to write. There’s a word for that, by the way - Procrastiknitting.

Since I came to knitting from that sweater-making route, I’ve always considered knitting a fashion-oriented hobby.  Lots of my sorority sisters were knitting cute little tops and vests and more.  So I was shocked, perhaps naively, so, when I found that knitting has a reputation as a hobby for old ladies, and that handknit garments are frumpy and unattractive. I was crushed, outraged even.  Ever since, I've been on a personal crusade to show the world how beautiful and fashionable hand knitting is. And I love it when I have partners in that effort. One of my favorite is Rowan Yarns.

I’ve been featuring quite a bit of Rowan lately. They really blew me away with their Mode line last fall, and I've been all in ever since. After our Rowan yarn tasting Saturday, Rowan Brand Manager. David McLeod, and I stayed on the line to chat a bit, and I asked him what he thought set Rowan apart.  He said that it's because Rowan has always been designer lead. What that means for to me is that instead of having a bunch of business executives come up with a yarn and choose a color palette they think will have broad appeal and sell well, Rowan starts their whole process with a team of talented designer. The designs come first.  

Designers and their stylistic vision guide the development of the yarns and the palette.  They’re not creating patterns to promote a yarn, but rather bringing the vision of a fashion collection to the table that the entire team works to realized with yarns.  The primary focus is the knitter and how she can re-create the stylish aesthetic presented in their collection and make it her own.  A I said in the tasting, the Rowan line is cohesive--their offerings make sense.  Nothing is random or out of place because they're all designed by talented and experienced professionals who share our goal of creating beautiful garments we can knit ourselves..Additionally, these designers understand that a hand knit wardrobe needs to be built on pieces that both look modern but also stand the test of time.  Pieces that last and we're proud to wear

We spend a lot of time creating our handknits garments, and  there’s no reason in the world did they shouldn’t be stylish and smart. Thank you, Rowan, for supporting fashionable knitters everywhere. 

If you would like to see the Rowan Trunk Show in person, we still have it in the shop for a few more days. If you can't make it in person, take a look at the video presentations here and here on Facebook Live.

I look forward to seeing you soon -- you are always welcome here

~Ellen

Back to 23 June 2020 Newsletter

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All the times to be fully present

All the times to be fully present

I recently had a conversation with a lovely knitter who is cranking out projects at an prodigious rate.  She said she'd been spending a lot of time recently with her parent who was in the early stages of Alzheimer's.  It can be very stressful to know that someone to whom you looked up for guidance and support is now struggling to remember the conversation you had yesterday, and knitting is certainly a way we can calm ourselves as we deal with this new reality.  But it's more than that.

Alzheimer patients cannot really be left alone.  They will forget where they are, wander off, and get lost.  They will forget that they turned the burner on, or that the

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Progress, not perfection

Progress, not perfection
Thanks to Governor Hogan who has implemented Phase 2, allowing non-essential retail to re-open.  And so we are open.  But before we move fully into that, I want to say Thank you.  Thank you to you, my lovely knitters and crocheters.  Thank you for your online, Facebook, email, Instagram purchases of Quaranskeins, LYS Day kits, Albuquerque Sunset, drop-ship afghans, regular projects, yarn, needles, and more.  There are not enough ways to tell you how very much I appreciate you keeping Crazy for Ewe on your mind and in your hearts.  Thank you for being cheerful and patient and kind as I fumbled through my first videos, my first Facebook Lives, and my work in progress website.  Thank you for watching those videos, for joining the Facebook Group, and for supporting each other around a virtual table as you connect on line.  I have said it before, but Crazy for Ewe is truly a special Continue reading

Black lives matter

Black lives matter
This has been a week.  I am a word person, and my first response to an emotionally devastating situation is to write about it.  But there are no words.  The savagery against people of color,, not just in the past week, but for centuries, is inexcusable.   The senseless death of George Floyd, Ahmaud  Arberu, Breonna Tayler, and others, reflect the horrors of injustice and oppression that still pervade our entire country.  Society has failed when those whose role it is to protect lives, use their power and authority to take lives.  Society has failed when people of color are more frequently arrested, more Continue reading

No, it's not normal

No, it's not normal
Everyone is asking when we will be able to open, and we are all wondering what that will look like. The first answer is fairly easy - I want to open as much as you want me to, but I need to be absolutely sure that I am comfortable with our protocol to ensure everyone's safety. The second answer is, I don't know what it will be like.  It will be different for sure. But it's the new normal.  It is kind of scary, because change is hard, but we have new normals in our life all the time.  

A while back, after her first lesson, one of my newer Continue reading
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