Monthly Archives: September 2010

Buyer Be-Aware Monday: Behind Closed Doors in the Retail World

I’ve frequently mentioned the store on this blog. I absolutely, completely LOVE working retail.

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Several factors work in my favour: I get to talk about one of my favourite hobbies…and get paid for it, so it’s not really “work” to my mind; our clientele is 98% “nice people” – I do think it would be challenging to work in a retail environment that caters to all walks of life; I’ve been at my store for 5.5 years so I’m competely comfortable with our inventory, policies and practices.

Every so often, though, I get a customer who does NOT make my day. Happily, these retail transactions are the exception, but a negative customer experience can really put a damper on your shift.

For today’s info session, I’ll take you over to the OTHER side of the retail counter and give you an insider’s look at a few of the whys and wherefores of retail practices.

GOOOOOOD EVENING!!!

Do you cringe every time you have to walk past the Walmart Greeter?

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This has got to be the worst example of getting a welcome to a store! I know I duck my head and skulk to the side of the entrance in order to avoid an overly-enthusiastic “Hello, and welcome to Walmart!”

However, I do give a cheery “Hello!” to every customer who enters my store. Most people will respond with a friendly hello back (good). Some people just mumble and walk to the back of the store (ok), while others completely ignore my greeting (bad!). So why do we greet you? Two purposes: 1) I genuinely want to make you feel welcome in the store, and hope you feel comfortable; 2) I want any “shady characters” to know that I know they’re in the store (got that?!) – the risk of shoplifting is decreased if your presence is noticed. If you’re the type that does not really appreciate having to say hello, sorry! I’m not trying to offend you, just genuinely want to make you feel like “you’re important to us!”

I AM NOT YOUR MAID

At home, you may be accustomed to leaving your clothes on the floor, inside out, dangling off hangers. Your room may be a hodge-podge of mashed wearables. When you shop, however, please note: you are not at home! 

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Suggestions for how to best help (me) your sales associate: give back the “no thanks” items, along with all hangers. You don’t need to attempt to rehang/refold/repackage merchandise yourself – we have a practised touch, with our methods down pat. We’ll end up redo-ing your kindhearted yet feeble attempts, anyway. Please do thank the associate who takes your “nos” on your way to pay for any “yeses.” And please don’t just leave a jumble on the change room floor! Hate that!

COULD I GET YOUR AGE, BIRTH WEIGHT, AND ASTROLOGICAL SIGN, PLEASE!

When you make your purchase at my store, we ask you for your phone number. No, we’re not trying to see which of us can pick up the most chics/guys during our shift! And no, we’re not collecting this info so we can coldcall you, or pass you name on to some agency or another.

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So why should you divulge this personal information? There is reason to our inquiry. First: if you need to return your purchase but don’t have the receipt, we need to be able to track your purchase and have a record that you did indeed pay for x object. If we can’t recall the purchase, how can we be sure that you aren’t holding stolen merchandise? Second: let’s say you know that you adored the last pair of shoes you bought, but you can’t place the model or the size. Well, we can look up your purchase history and quickly get you the shoe you want, or at least know what type of shoe we should direct you towards. The purchase log really benefits you, the customer. If you do have doubts about the retailer’s intentions, do feel free to politely inquire as to why this information is necessary. A reputable store will be able to give you a reasonable explanation.

GIVE ME BACK MY MONEY, NOW!!!

Returns are a fact of life in the retail world.

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This process does not have to be a negative experience, though! Here’s how to return an item and leave as a satisfied customer:

~ if you think you may need to return an item, check with the sales associate about the store’s return policy as you are paying for your purchase. You may have only 14 days to return an item for a full refund, or you may need to contact the manufacturer (say, of an electronic product) after 30 days. When you are clear on the rules, you can avoid requesting an “exemption” to the store’s rules.

~ leave hang tags on clothing, keep shoe boxes, SAVE YOUR RECEIPT! If you’re returning an item, the store will wish to resell it, so return it in resale condition. Would you want to buy something that has damaged packaging? I didn’t think so!

~ if you have a return that is out of the ordinary, phone the store ahead of time and speak with the manager. Explain your situation and ask what the store can do for you. If you show up, unannounced, and happen to catch a part-time sales associate off-guard, you ARE going to get poorer service or an unsatisfactory resolution than if you go directly to the manager.

~ admit if YOU made an error. There are times when, really and truly, we as customers are in the wrong. I think we all have a pair of shoes that ended up as *expensive* gardening or grocery shopping shoes, or a kitchen utensil that lasted three egg scramblings. If you made a poor purchase, chalk it up to experience, and get on with life!

OH, WHO ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD?

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To be honest, you ARE likely to receive better service at your neighbourhood specialty store than at a big-box monstrosity. I love when my regulars, or “favourite customers” come in – it’s genuinely a pleasure to help people who I know (and like)! When the retailer knows your style, or your size, you’ll be in and out in no time, purchase complete. If you need help choosing a gift, we’re happy to give you our time, chat, and assist you in finding what you’re looking for. Plus, as a regular, you may quickly rack up “bonus dollars” or “frequent shopper rewards;” – if you’re not aware of such a program, ask if one is available.

Whether you’re a shopping diva or the dash-with-cash type, you should receive polite, helpful customer service wherever you go. Shopping is a two-way street, and should be a positive experience for both retailer and customer.

Since I love both retail shopping and retail selling, maybe my next career should be personal shopper! …Either that or I’ll open my own store???…well, maybe I’ll save that for my next life!

Knitting as Art

You know me: I consider my knitting needles extensions of my arms. I LOVE KNITTING!!!

Imagine my delight when I heard about the Knit CamBRIDGE project! The entire Main Street bridge in Cambridge, covered in knitting! Local coverage about this art installation has been quite plentiful – if you’d like to read the why’s and wherefore’s, please do check out these links:

K-W Record article

Knittyblog description

Cambridge Reporter brief mention

I hadn’t really intended on going to see the bridge, live. I had seen and heard bits and pieces of the media coverage, and thought, “Wow, neat! Glad knitting is getting its 15 minutes of local fame, and some time in the limelight.” End of story. But then, bloggie reader Nicole FYI’d me that she had seen the knitted bridge, and thought I would really enjoy witnessing it up close and personal. A quick Google search later, I realized the bridge would be dismantled on September 27th. So I would have to hustle if I was going to go visit!

Happily, I finished up at the store at 3 pm today, thus allowing time for a little road trip for B and me. (Yes! B didn’t even complain about going to see art…knitted art, at that! I think yesterday’s squares worked their magic)!

So we set off for Cambridge.

i made b drive so i could knit during the drive; of course i'm going to knit on the way to see knitting!

[SIDENOTE: If you read about Recipe #27, you know my camera jumped into a sink of soapy water; happily, it still works perfectly! But lesson learned: do not pick up camera with slightly buttered fingers in the midst of washing dishes. One step at a time!]

In a nutshell, I am SO GLAD we made the effort to see the bridge! It’s striking and impressive in pictures, but even more zowie in real life! We spent a good 20 minutes wandering back and forth over the bridge to examine the exhibit.

i love witty word play - great title for the project!

Now, technically, the bridge is not covered in knitting – there are quite a few crocheted pieces mixed in, too. Normally, I am not AT ALL a fan of crochet; but in this case, the crocheted elements added greatly to the beauty of the overall piece. Something about the chunky texture really made the crocheted pieces “pop.” Here is a slide show, then, of our knitted bridge visit. Enjoy!

initial view

the centre arch

along the pedestrian portion of the bridge

some of the pieces (this one is crochet) were full-sized - i appreciate the time and effort required to make something of this size!

how groovy! a patchwork pillar!

Not only are the individual creations unique, but I loved the construction of the covered bridge as an entirety – quite a feat to mount all the pieces to create ONE cohesive masterpiece.

love the artistic statement of the multiple covered pillars, all in a row

this portion of the bridge is composed of basketweaving the knitted sections!

Despite the gloomy weather (it’s been hideously windy all day, with splatters of rain and dashes of sunshine), there was quite a crowd at the bridge – all age groups and many nationalities represented!

photographing the photo-takers...

this guy seemed pretty serious about capturing the right angles and lighting!

I was really glad B came along – he had the idea of moving to the side of the river for this next shot:

the setting adds to the artistic quality of this project: the river as backdrop...

...and historic stone churches

I made sure to point out all the zipties to B – that’s more his media than yarn!

can't imagine the volunteer hours required to attach all of the blocks together AND to the bridge

Some of the knitting was pretty elementary while some was detailed and full of artistry!

flowers n kitties!

van gogh-ish, non?!

Animal themes abound…

loved the bunnies, the crocheted backdrop and the juxtaposition in colours of the two!

you don't scare me, little snakey! i'll hiss back at ya!

Randomness…

a crazy mess of colour and texture - and it works

favourite pillar?!

a few people personalized their work but the majority is anonymously contributed

All in all a HIGHLY satisfying late afternoon outing! I commend the City of Cambridge for supporting this initiative and applaud the artist-in-residence, Sue Sturdy, for her vision. The best part is how this project will play forward: after dismantling occurs on Sept 27th, the pieces will be washed and donated, or auctioned off for charity. Artistic philanthropy = awesomeness!

Totally inspired, I must now go create lace and watch my PVR’d season premier of Glee!

On This First Day of Fall…

…it’s OK…

~ to be dressed like a Christmas elf:

what exactly was dada thinking this morning?!

~ to wear summer-y pinky-pink sneakers:

it sure FEELS like summer, temp-wise today, even if the calendar does not agree!

~ to admire a beautiful tree that jumped the gun on the season and has already coloured its leaves:

totally scarlet, i'm telling you!

~ to be super-excited because Hallowe’en is in stores now!

hallowe'en is about candy? no way! look at that kitty cat!!!

~ to scout out items for your Christmas List (the traditional family exchange of lists will be done at Thanksgiving!)

something for aunti...

...and something for baby c!

~ to bury yourself in books, even though heavy-duty reading is best suited to curling up by the fire, in the dead of winter:

oooo, which one should i read first??!

SPECIAL NOTE for any calendar-geeks (who, me?!)…if you include tomorrow, September 23rd, there are exactly 100 days left of 2010. Wish I had a spectacular idea of what I could do each and every day for 100 days…I love that kind of thing!

What did you do to celebrate the arrival of fall? (I wept copious amounts of tears – fall is not so bad, but it means that WINTER is right around the corner!!!)

Buyer Be-Aware Monday: RockTape

I really get quite envious when I read other blogs and see that the blogger is the happy recipient of free goodies that x company has shipped to her to review. Part of the fun would be to test the product. The rest of the fun would be just being able to say that I received products for free and that my review and opinion are my own. (Did you know that there are actual bloggie rules  for when you review a product, received for free? True!)

Well, no one has sent me anything for free yet. Unlike Katie who received a cornucopia of nut butters! Then again, I’m also thankful I’m not Holly, whose request to review Bragg products was denied because the company felt her lifestyle wasn’t healthy enough! I tell ya, it’s a soap opera world in blogland some days!

But I digress. Today’s Buyer Be-Aware segment has been in the works for a couple of weeks! And it includes something I got for free!

When my manager at the store, Paul, showed me some samples of RockTape, I immediately had the brainwave to make B try them out.

Poor B – for over a year now, he has been plagued by nasty plantar fasciitis. It truly is the dickens to get over. Funny enough, B can hike up and down mountains, literally, all summer long, and not feel a thing; he returns to our concrete jungle, goes back to time on his feet teaching, and the old PF roars back to life. So when Paul told me about RockTape, I hoped that it could help B and his frustrating foot situation.

So full disclosure: the samples of RockTape I used were free to me. The opinions and findings, though, are 100% my own. (Oooo, that was fun to type!)

the product

So what is this stuff? Our sample included the free tape, above, and full instructions. RockTape is a form of supportive tape, more or less. Our instruction sheet showed how to apply RockTape to provide extra support for issues athletes face with: the IT Band, the thigh, the shoulder, the achilles tendon, the shins, the groin, the lower back, the calf, the neck, the sciatic nerve area and the knee – and of course to the feet, for plantar faschiitis.

i'm really impressed by the detailed instructions included!

So late Saturday afternoon, we got to work RockTaping B (I know, rockin’ good times at our Condo Casa on Saturday nights!)

is that a plea for rocktape or a plea to get out of being my victim?!

 I followed the diagram provided…

it's not brain surgery, but i wanted to apply the stuff correctly!

missed my calling: shoulda been a physio!

According to the directions, we were to attach the tape from B’s heel to the base of the toes. It says NOT to stretch the tape, but if we do this again, we are going to stretch it slightly as B hasn’t yet felt any support from these longitudinal attachments. The second step involved taping around B’s arch. B reported that he DID notice the additional support in this mid-region of his foot.

the tape applies easily; it's also not too sticky or tricky to work with

Ta da!

just look at that application!

let's cover all angles...

Sunday: B walked on the treadmill in the morning. Reported no difference in his feet before/during/after this workout. In the afternoon, we went on our usual Sunday Long Walk (about 1.5 hours) – now while he didn’t notice a difference while walking, B did report afterwards that his foot was less stiff than usual. All right!

Monday Morning: The RockTape has now been through the shower two times:

uh oh...

Yup – the tape is peeling off the bottom of B’s foot. It’s supposed to last through about five days of wear and tear…

...and it's coming loose on the top of the foot! oh dear!

The final trial: a day at the college, walking around on the concrete floors for several hours…

B’s comments: “The stuff [that would be the thin strips] underneath is a waste. The wrap around the middle actually might be working.” 

My questions: Would you pay money for this product? “No.” which then changed to “I’m undecided. Here’s the thing: I didn’t have a shower this morning. If I had a shower, came out of the shower, how would I dry it? I’d put my sock on, put my shoe on, I’d have a wet foot. And why is this any better than athletic tape? I could buy a whole frickin’ role of athletic tape for less money. So I would say no.”

Would you try it again? “Yes. I would try it again, I just wouldn’t pay the money for it.”

Did you feel any benefit at all over the 48+ hours that you wore the RockTape? “Maybe my foot has not gotten worse. But I can’t say it’s gotten better. Maybe it’s prevented a decline.”

My conclusions? After examining the diagrams, I am impressed by the versatility of this product. The promo materials state that this tape works for swimmers, runners, cyclists…I’d love to see how it works with someone with another athletic ailment.

I would bet that this tape would help in a race situation or as a temporary “quick fix.” I would hesitate to suggest it to someone, like B, who is dealing with a chronic situation. Other forms of rehab are likely more effective.

RockTape retails at my store  for $19.99.

Thanks for being my guinea pig, B! And thanks, RockTape, for the free sample!

ETA: After shower #3 on Monday eve, the RockTape COMPLETELY came away from B’s foot…so the claim that it will last five days is a bit of a stretch…unless you shower less than daily!

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In other news that is neither here nor there…

Remember the stash of ORBIT gum that B brought back for me from the States? I chewed my last piece today. :(

back to nom-nomming on Extra...although i have some STRIDE and a REACT 5 to try now, too!

I finished a baby blanket last eve:

i love brights for babies; i shy away from traditional pastels

I’m semi-pleased with this final product: I love the feel of the yarn, love the colours. NOT SO HAPPY with the blotchy patterning that emerged, as you can see in the photo. This was actually really hard yarn to work with in terms of finding a pattern that looked good with the bright variegation in colours. I ripped out multiple possibilities before settling on this lace pattern!

a pretty simple 4-row repeating pattern - was fun to do!

After several attempts to watch this season’s Mad Men episodes (that would be Season Four) that I have stockpiled on PVR, I give up. The show is just not doing anything for me this time ’round, despite the eye candy stellar acting of a certain Don Draper. It’s so incredibly BORING! (Even more boring than “The American!” Click here if you missed my review…)

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 Or is that Dick Whitman?? Maybe I’ll just read the episode recaps online…

What I AM finding tres fun is Top Chef!! Go Angelo!!! No, it does not inspire me to cook, sorry.

And the Winner Is!….

(Drum roll, of course!…)

But first – haha! I’ll prolong the excitment J~U~S~T a minute…

Thanks to each of you who entered the cookie giveaway contest! I really enjoyed reading your replies to the four questions. Fun, fun!

Next: thanks to entrant Nicole’s tip about random.org. I did use this website to choose today’s winner – a totally fair way to do the draw! (plus the fact that B has already left for work; to honour the 7 a.m. EST deadline, I am waiting until 7:01 to draw our lucky winner…

Contest closed!

it's time!

So! Without further ado, here is our winner!…

#4 wins!

 …and that would be Comment #4, left by MICHELLE!!! :) Congrats!

Haha, I will be seeing Michelle this weekend, so the cookie delivery is quite simple! I’ll send her an email to give her the news, too!

(In case you are wondering, you’ll notice that the possible winning numbers go from 3-10; numbers 1 & 2 were replies that were not eligible for the contest, hence the 3-10 number span).

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ll be posting the recipe on the Recipe Page for a “spicy, chewy, ginger cookie” tonight!

COOOOOO-KIE!!!

Haha! I just looked at that title as i was typing and thought, do I mean “cookie” or “kooky?!” Maybe a little of both!

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Whatever your cookie style, remember you have until 7 a.m. tomorrow morning, Friday September 17th, to enter to win a FREE batch of homemade cookies, shipped right to you! See here for how to enter!

100th Blog Post! Celebration Give-Away Contest!

That’s right! Before your very eyes you have the 100th post of the 1970 Kiki Project.

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I didn’t think I could have so much to say! :)

To celebrate, I’m hosting a COOKIE GIVEAWAY CONTEST!

Here’s how it works:

Enter the contest by leaving me a comment on THIS blog post. You can comment at the bottom of this page. In keeping with the theme of the 1970 Kiki Project, your comment will include: 1) your favourite movie 2) your favourite cereal 3) your favourite read (book, magazine, newspaper, whatever) 4) your favourite type of homemade cookie. So you will leave FOUR items of information in your comment!

The contest is open til Friday September 17th at 7 a.m. EST.

At that time, I will have B pick a number between 1 and however-many-entries there are, and that lucky person will win a batch of homemade cookies, made by me – whatever type you mentioned in your entry comments.

That recipe will be #26 of the Kiki Project!

The contest is open to anyone in Canada or the U.S., and I will ship the cookies to you if you’re out of town. I will post the winner’s name and choice of cookie on Friday, after the draw.

Thanks for reading!

Buyer Be-Aware Monday: Let Your Money Do The Talking

One of the benefits of living in the heart of Uptown Waterloo is the opportunity to “Support the Independent.” Now, I have nothing against the retail Corporate Giants like Chapters, Loblaws, Starbucks, and chain restaurants like Cora’s – in fact, I adore the selection at each of these locations. And let’s not forget that I work for a store with over 100 locations! But it pleases me greatly when I can shop at places like Wordsworth Books and Vincenzo’s Fine Foods, and purchase treats at The Huether or brunch at Angie’s.

You may feel that where you purchase goods and find entertainment means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Maybe not, if you just consider one purchase, one outing. But over time, (repeat visits, multiple years of spending), you can make a statement with how you shop.

If you are a regular shopper at a store, you are inherently supporting the ethics, the mores of that retail establishment. Don’t like that Nike manufactures shoes in China? Don’t buy a Nike shoe. Don’t like Walmart‘s treatment of its employees? Don’t shop there. With the wealth of shopping options at our fingertips, it’s easy to take your business elsewhere when you come up against a policy or practice that you don’t agree with.

This sign caught my eye last week:

sign in a storefront window

To be blunt, this sign offends me – it’s discriminatory! Can you imagine the uproar if the sign said NO WHEELCHAIRS or NO CHILDREN?! This is one place in which I would refuse to spend a dime because I don’t agree with the owners’ philosophy. On this street, it is simply not safe nor desirable to leave a stroller sitting out on the sidewalk. And tell me a wobbly toddler is not capable of wreaking a little havoc?

The stance on no strollers at this store is a rather extreme example of what a store owner will allow or not. Here’s another example:

not just banning dogs! don't bring your parakeet in here, either, apparently!

This request makes a little more sense in terms of sanitation and safety. But if you’re a lover of our furry or four-legged friends, you might take exception to this store’s policy.

Best be-aware of an eatery’s payment options BEFORE you eat, or embarrassment may result!

is there a bank machine close by?!

One request I DO appreciate is when spas, restaurants, and cinemas require patrons to turn off their cellphones. Common curtesy is always in order; given our proliferation of personal technology devices and the lack of etiquette of some users, it is necessary to state the obvious and request some consideration!

Bottom line: shop where you feel comfortable. Just realize that you do make a statement, explicit or implied, with your spending practices.

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Did you know it’s also NEON MONDAY?!

Sarah and I had the pleasure of working together today since our manager was still off, enjoying some well-deserved vacation time. Since we both have the same shoes, we thought it would be funny to revisit high school practises each wear our hot-pink Nike Free shoes at the same time – they’re not exactly plain!

sole sisters unite!

Gave us a giggle during my shift, anyway!

...and the same colour of shirt! can't get much more matchy-matchy!

Fun times on a Monday!

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Stay tuned for the next post – it’s going to be extra-special because we’re celebrating!!!…. :)

Fair Thee Well!

Right up there with Christmas, my annual outing to the Knitters’ Fair with mom ranks as one of my favourite days of the year. We figured out that we’ve attended every year since 1994, without exception, but for 2002 when B and I left for our Moab trip that very day (what were we thinking?! now, I’d simply request a one day delay in departure!). We’ve had every kind of weather from blistering sunshine to freezing rain over the years – today is sunny and warm-ish.

this year's ensemble...

I make it a point to always wear a handknit sweater to the fair. Since Bingemans is a deep-freeze air-conditioned, I’m not overdressed! See this sweater? Mom actually made this one for me, and it dates back to likely Grade 9 or 10…so it’s a good 25 years old, and still going strong! One of my comfy favourites. Recognize the tights from Florida?! Knitters’ Fair attendees can be a tad on the … unique side, shall we say, so my tights fit right in! Yes, they look summery, but I figure the dark green sweater “brings out the autumn” in them.

Before I left, I made sure I had my money stash of cash – no budget for today!

being my own personal bank machine!

I also took stock of my current knitting projects. Here you go:

1) baby blanket in misti alpaca variegated yarn...

2) baby blanket in noro's sekku yarn - completely mind-bending lace; love it!

3) a waiting-in-the-queue baby blanket to be made of noro's kureyon yarn

Only three projects?! It’s lean times right now! :)

The fair opens at 9:30 a.m. Mom and I arrived at 9:40 a.m., and the line up was out the door! We also only found parking wayyyyy in the back 40…this fair is a highlight in the knitting community!

ready and eager to get going!

We have our method of exploration down to a science. We pick up the map of vendors…

the fair occupies two full ballrooms at bingemans

…then start with one of the rooms. We do a tour of the perimeter, then weave up and down the interior rows.

wide aisles make for easier roaming than in earlier years at other venues when you'd really be squeezed while browsing

We don’t make purchases on the first go-’round UNLESS we see an extraordinary bargoon that may not last if we leave it. Works for us!

the purple purl, my go-to yarn store in TO, and their spacious corner domain

My eagle eye spotted the Noro Sekku yarn from Project #2, above, in the Purple Purl’s  collection…just this week, I had been thinking I could use a couple more balls of yarn for this project. A quick phone call to B to confirm my dye lot (I walked him through finding exactly what I was looking for!)…

handy dandy blackberry-to-blackberry communication!

 and – BINGO! Scored two more balls of yarn – at 20% off, to boot!

now that i have six balls of yarn for this project, it seriously could take me 12+ months to complete!

Shortly thereafter, mom spied a great deal on yarn for her pet projects: prayer shawls for her church group, and blankets for Project Linus.

as long as you only need a few balls of a dye lot or colour, you can walk away with a super deal

Here’s just a sample of the beautiful yarn displays that scream, “buy me! buy me!”…

so pleasing to the eye!

Trends noticed this year: shrugs or cropped sweaters are big; sweater jackets with a unique pin/brooch at the front; colourful zippered tote bags for transporting your knitting (more and more knitters are taking our craft out of the house and into the general public – have you noticed?!). On the way out: patterned socks and textured scarves; fingerless gloves (which were huge last year).

The fair is a great source if you’re searching for unique yarns:

i've used bamboo yarn before, it's ok; the soy yarn felt very soft

don't think i'll try hemp yarn anytime soon - it felt like twine!

Also noticed:

The Needle Emporium staff modeled amaaaaaazing shawls:

don't think i'll attempt: i like a challenge but i prefer lace to working with colour

…and one of my all-time favourite fair participants:

i've completed several projects from philosopher's wool over the years - they spin their own yarn and design their own patterns. true "knitting hippies!"

Don’t say knitters don’t have a sense of humour!

luuuuv! (don't know this woman, i simply stopped her, admired her shirt, and asked for a photo! apparently, i can find this online...

came soooo close to purchasing this t! it's organic and fair-trade as well as super funny...but i need another t like a whole in my head...

Without fail, I meet people I know every year. This year I missed my friend Sue, who I know from the store, but did cross paths with:

me, janet, her mom - i met janet about 20 years ago at the y; see her about once a month in the 'hood, now!

brenda, a regular at the store run club sunday mornings; running and knitting united!

We completed 1.5 rounds of the vendors, then needed a lunch break. We dropped off purchases at the car and retrieved lunch. (We always bring our own because Bingeman’s supplies the catering…need I say more??! blech for you out-of-towners!).

improvement noted: over the years, more table space has been provided. much appreciated!

Over lunch, we discussed the purchases we still wished to make, vendors to revisit.

We agreed that this fitted sweater had “MOM” written all over it. As per tradition, mom made the purchase, I shall do the knitting.

knit in the softest of peruvian wools, the back features lace detailing...

note the shawl collar - i love working these types of patterns! this will be fun!

And me? This year, I decided to put all my birds in one basket (or whatever the metaphor is…all my stones in one boot?! haha!). After perusing all the gorgeous colours, textures and options, I decided on…

oops - no comment right now as i am busy wiping the drool off my fingers...

Qu’est-ce que c’est? Only 100% SILK yarn, made in Canada, hand-dyed…and $42 a skein (gulp). Will turn this into a baby blanket…for a baby who doesn’t burp, puke, pee or dribble. Anyone know of any ROYALTY expecting a baby? Celeb at TIFF? Just joking. I could not pass up the TACTILE and CREATIVE PLEASURE this project will bring me. I envision another INSANELY DETAILED lace pattern that will rock my eyeballs.

this shade is called "stormy" and is mildly variegated

And secrets!!!

can't disclose what's in the paper bag...because certain princesses' parents frequent this blog!

All in all, a highly successful day. I have enough projects to last a few weeks for quite a while (especially since I am knitting LESS since I stopped drinking Diet Coke – it’s just not as much fun. :( Like peanut butter plain on bread with no honey or jam :(), and enough variety to keep things interesting (note: I never have less than two projects on the go at once).

I feel so fortunate that this fair is a mere 10 minute drive from home. Seriously, shoppers come from all over Ontario, by busload from the States…this is the real deal for impassioned knitters. Will end this entry now cuz…it’s time to knit!! (and watch Mad Men!).

Change is in the Air

There was just enough of a chill this morning that I decided to put mitts on Baby C. They probably weren’t totally necessary, but I would rather err on the side of having them and not needing them than wanting them and not having them:

doing the royal - if fleecy - wave!

Happily, Baby C was enamoured by her mitts right away. Within a couple blocks she was madly clapping, dancing and flinging her arms up and down…all while giggling contentedly:

mid-clap...or is that mid-dance??!

 These mitts are genius in that you can clip them onto baby:

i know of several adults who could benefit from this design system, too!

So glad that Baby C took to wearing mittens so quickly! I can’t tell you how many mitts I lost with Little E; unlike Baby C, E never really enjoyed having her hands covered – her arm flings were more like, “Get these hand traps off of me!!!” Hopefully, my luck will be better with Baby C.

Along with the difference in air temp (last Thursday was so hot, I had to seek out shady streets when Baby C and I ventured out), there are other signs that we ain’t in summah’ anymore:

ah, the jokesters!

And this happened other years, too: our favourite park becomes totally deserted once the clock strikes twelve Labour Day arrives:

just like having our own fully-equipped backyard!

I don’t know why everyone stops coming to the park like this! Today is overcast and cool, but by all means not park-unfriendly. Oh well, their loss. And the best part! When the sandbox looks like this when you arrive…

communal toy sharing is the law of this playground

…you sure don’t have to worry about putting any toys away before you leave!

I knew we wouldn’t be going over here today:

no workout for these guys, today!

Whereas you could hardly tear Little E away from the swings (and that continues today), Baby C is not at all a fan…to each their own!

Another divine baby invention:

Baby C, foot model

Looks like socks and shoes, right?! NO!!! It’s an all-in-one sock + shoe! And thanks to the fitted top of the sock, perfect for the sandbox as no sand gets in. Thanks to the rubber sole, it’s also non-slip so C can get a good grip as she explores. I know what you’re thinking: yup, if I could find an adult version, I’d be sold on it! (Would look no more *unique* than the Vibrams, eh!)

Lastly: today is the first day of TIFF!!

yea, TIFF!

I keep hoping that one of these years some Level A celeb will leave Yorkville and venture further afield to our ‘hood. Hey, it could happen! I only missed Katie Holmes at Toronto Island by one day – my luck has got to change!

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