Friday, June 24, 2011

Skirts?! - YES! Sneaky Fibre Adventure?! - YES!

(I know my eyes are closed, but here is our pre-DKC "cheers")

Last Wednesday Tamaralda and I gave our presentation to the Downtown Knit Collective. It was all about knit and crocheted skirts! We've been experimenting with the skirt for over a year and this presentation was all about what we have learned about fibre, tension, waistband treatment and bum sag!
Fruits of our labours:

Here is the official release taken from the DKC's Newsletter:

Alisa McRonald has been crafting since she was born. Making tube dresses for her Barbies and using her little brother and cat as dress models for her creations were some of her favorite activities as a young child (or at least until her little brother got bigger than her)! She has been teaching and exhibiting her work in North America and abroad since 1995. She currently maintains her blog ( and further develops her fibre fixation by immersing herself in the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Guild handspinning programme.

Tamara Krievins has been fibre-crafting since the sixties… (yes, she even made macramé plant hangers). She has been the manager of the yarn shop Passionknit since 2009. Recently she submitted all of the hand-worked samples and lesson plans, as well as logged the
volunteer teaching hours required to receive her Teacher Certificate in Crochet from the Craft Yarn Council of America.

This month: Stylish Knitted Skirts (they don’t need to be dowdy or droopy!) Exploring thoughtful and creative fibre choices, meticulous gauge determinations, and best
practices for professional-looking garments.

These two DKC members generated quite a lot of interest when they modeled their skirts at our fashion show last December. In tonight’s presentation, they will share their skirt-making explorations with us—their successes, as well as their “learning experiences”.

Alisa and Tamara’s discussions will include: combining yarns and fibres in order to achieve desired fabric and gauge, fun and flattering colour choices, appropriate silhouettes for various body types, and technical tips for garment construction and care.

Quite a lovely introduction!

Kate Atherely, Fiona Ellis, Flo, Tamaralda and I after our presentation:

So why skirts? People we were encountering were having trouble choosing patterns and completing sweaters/cardigans that fit them! We were always hearing how annoying finishing is and how people complete a garment and then never wear it because it just doesn’t fit right. Making a sweater/cardi is a lot of work, back, fronts, sleeves, button bands – then you have to sew it all together!

Personally, I consider myself a “yarn artist” – not a knitter exclusively. I want my projects to be portable, beautiful and wearable. I was making scarves, shawls, arm warmers – never sweaters or cardis.

We started talking and decided that skirts – basically a tube (although there are difficult patterns out there), cover the same proportion/area of your body as a cardi or sweater and they are not (as) fiddly! Most often it’s one seam or done in the round.

This was our mindset when Tamaralda came running into the shop (on her day off) one day waving the Lansplitter pattern by Tina Whitmore. It was in the current issue of Knitty (Fall 2010) AND we had just received all the new colours in Kuyeron.

The planets were aligned for our skirt experiments to take off… and take off they did! We have an amazing body of work to show for it and so much more experience knitting, crocheting, altering patterns and finishing techiques!

We have compiled a wonderful resource list and if anyone would like it..... just email me or find me on Ravelry: alisamcr
Thanks for helping us set up Boomer!:
DKC members taking a look at our skirts:

Now to the Sneaky (mini) Fibre Adventure... it was the wonderful Boomer's birthday last weekend and she wanted to go to the Niagra area. Visit some vineyards, see the falls, eat good food - once we were in the car I announced my deisre to check out two wonderful fibre shops in Jordan! Hee hee! Her being as wonderfuly supportive as she is made the stops and enjoyed poking around and playing with the house dog at the Fibre Garden!

Fibre Garden is run by two wonderful and creative guys! One of which is in his 4th year of the Ontario Handspinning Programme (I got to pick his brain about homework and how much worse it gets :) ) I bought some wonderful handyed batts one for Boomer, one for me! (I'm so fair)...

Me in front of Fibre Garden:

Stitch was another beautiful shop with fabrics and yarns. It is visually heaven! Displays! Colours! I loved it! (No doggies for Boomer to play with though!) Also! Bee in Niagra-on-the-Lake!
Boomer and my batts from Fibre Garden:

My congradulations go out to the Toronto Spiders for winning the International Back to Back Wool Challenge for the 5th time! Here is a picture of their trophy! Two of the Spiders were at the DKC meeting telling their story of glory!

Not the best pic of the Spiders' trophy but - pretty impressive!:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Classes in July!

This past Wednesday, Tamaralda and I did a presentation for the Downtown Knit Collective on knitted and crocheted skirts! We had such a fun time and I will be doing a post very soon about our adventures for that presentation.

In the meantime, here are the classes I'm teaching in July... they will all be taught at Passionknit in Toronto (please give them a call to register or for more information at (416) 322-0688:

The Entrelac Technique - Noro Silk Garden Lite Scarf!
If you’re interested in Entrelac, this is the class for you! We will be going over the technique, and participants will be inspired by the beautiful Noro colours! Please know how to knit, purl, pick up stitches and read a pattern. (Pinchy)
Wed. July 6 or Thurs. July 28, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.*

Continental Knitting
Continental knitting (picking) along with English knitting (throwing) are the two predominant ways of knitting. The picking technique is gaining in popularity for those who are interested in augmenting their techniques repertoire. Knitting in this way is very efficient and facilitates colour-work. This class will go over the basics and get you practicing knitting the continental way! You must have a basic knowledge of knitting to take this class. (Peachy)
Wed. July 13 or Thurs. July 21, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.*

Skirt Class – The Lanesplitter!
What a wonderful pattern by Tina Whitmore with over 900 projects on the go in Ravelry. If you are interested in making a knit skirt – this is the one! Flattering to all bodies and easily altered, we will be going over this pattern and getting started using the wonderful Kureyon yarn by Noro. Please know how to knit, purl and read a pattern. (Pinchy)
Thurs. July 14, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.

Beginner Crochet – Flower Coaster
Learn the basics of crochet in this fun class. Learn basic crochet stitches, how to read a pattern, increasing and decreasing. Participants will be working on a cute flower-shaped coaster! (Peachy)
Wed. July 20 or Wed. July 27, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.*

*Please bring your knitting tool kit to class:
Needles, stitch markers, scissors, note pad, etc. Also, please roll any skeins into balls before class!

Monday, June 13, 2011

WWKIPD and Donkeys - Hunh?

This weekend was a very nice one for fibre AND animals! I went home to visit my family. My mom and I went to the LYS All Strung Out to meet up with our kintting in public friends (WWKIPD = World Wide Knit In Public Day!).

The owner of All Strung Out, Ashley, was there and was a great hostess! We crammed inside the shop and didn't let the cool, grey weather bother us. I felt a little guilty knitting. I wanted to rebel against the specificity of Knitting in public by promoting Crochet but, the crochet project I'm working on requires a lot more attention than the knitting one.... oh well, there's always next year! Or, I could start a WWCIPD?! Any takers?

Our lovely hostess Ashley:
All Strung Out features (love the entryway and displays):

When I was at All Strung Out, I noticed a poster for an amazing Knit Night. The Guelph Enabling Garden is hosting summer Knit Knites! The Enabling Garden is a garden for everyone especially those with varying degrees of physical and cognitive abilities. The beautiful setting of the garden and satisfaction of knitting (or crochet), sounds like a pretty great summer evening to me...

After our public display of knitting, I did go visit a crochet comrade who was working around the corner from All Strung Out. She's organized a Knit/Crochet meet-up in Guelph and enjoys spending time with her group. The store is baby-sitting this beautiful peach and green coloured parrot - pretty bird, pretty bird! She sang a beautiful song... Her beautiful peach feathers were very inspiring...

She's just made that way...:

Finally! It was Donkey Days at the Donkey Sanctuary! I love donkeys, they come in all shapes and sizes and are beautifully coloured/spotted/striped - and that wonderful noise they make! It was fun to take my 18 month old niece to see them. To continue with the knitting theme, I got her a little hand-knit donkey that was knit by a volunteer to raise money for the sanctuary!
Second best thing to brining a donkey home is bringing home a hand-knit donkey!

We arrived just in time for the "Carrot Walk", a parade of Donkeys:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oui Madame!

I have been quickly unpacking my summer wardrobe and have dug out all these t-shirts with really great graphics on them. The problem is, the shirts look kind of dumpy on. They have high necks and fit weird and I never wear them... enter Crocheted Edgings!

I took Cal Patch's advice and cut the necks of the shirts into either a v-neck or more of a boat/scoop neck, I also altered the sleeves and made the seam at the bottom a little bigger. The shapes had changed and were way more flattering. Then, to jazz them up a bit, I added some crocheted edging around the necks and arms! I love my new wardrobe! My favorite HAS to be the Spinning Wheel shirt that A Verb for Keeping Warm designed. These tees that I never wore have now become my new faves AND people ask about them too - it's always nice to promote crochet.... (my congratulations go out to Tamaralda who just received her teachers' certification from the Craft Yarn Council IN crochet!)

A few other neat tidbits -

My dad was recently in Inner Mongolia, China where they produce a lot of cashmere and raise cashmere goats! He was there on an agricultural trip and when he got back to his hotel room one night there was this amazing flower arrangement. Please notice the tiny horns on the tiny goats....

Here is a link to an article from the Haliburton Echo about my handspinning class! (I love that the title of the article is, "A Wheel Good Time"...

Also - Tamaralda and I will be giving a talk at the Downtown Knit Collective on our experiments with hand-knit/crocheted skirts! The talk is on Wed. June 15, at 7:30pm! Please click on the above link for more indepth information.