Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stef (and my boobs) are famous!

Boy, I never thought this was going to happen. My boobs are having their 15 minutes of fame.

Should I be embarrassed? Delighted? Proud? Appalled? I'm not sure. But I can tell you this...way back in high school when the boys teased me and called me a "Pirate's Dream" no one would have guessed that my boobs would eventually make it to prime time on a radio station's web site. it's the T-shirt and not my curves that won the fame. A girl can dream, can't she? Don't you love the message? I bought the shirt from, one of my favorite stores in the world.

Check out the terrific shot of Stefanie with the CD101 rep, Tara. I like the photo of Stef a lot more than I like the photo of my boobs...but I do love that T-shirt!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And the May Bulletin winner is...

For the May Bulletin, we challenged our readers to check for the details in that issue and answer the following question:

How many new colors of existing yarns and colors of new yarns on Yarnmarket are we featuring in this issue of the Bulletin?

We expected to get emails with just a total number given, maybe even just with the number listed in the subject line, but some of you were so much more thorough than that. We received a variety of answers with numerous lists detailing which yarns had which subtotals and such plus final tallies. We even received one email that itemized the number of yarns and colors for every article in the Bulletin, and the customer commented about how much fun she had checking everything out (glad you enjoyed yourself, Lena!). So as long as you had the right number for the categories we requested in your email, your response went in the pool of correct answers.

And drum roll please -- congratulations to Deb S. of Berkeley Heights, NJ, for having the correct answer of 85 colors in total and for being selected at random in our drawing this morning.

And remember that you have one more chance this month to win a $100 Yarnmarket gift certificate by entering the current Just My Type contest that runs until midnight ET on Memorial Day, May 31st.

Join the Ravelry Gang at Yarnmarket on June 10 at 6:00 p.m.

If you're a Raveler, you'll want to be here to meet the Ravelry Gang for an evening of fun and socializing at Yarnmarket. They'll be here along with the wonderful Della Q to meet our knitters and talk about yarn, knitting and whatever else you'd like!

If you want to attend our invitation-only event, please RSVP to:

Ravelry at yarnmarket dot com

I'll confirm your invitation and provide directions to our store.

It's going to be a great evening...and, yes, you'll be able to shop!

Win a $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate!

Jan just sent our our newest edition of Just My Type. This month, the focus is on Ribbon yarns which are so pretty in summer garments.

Be sure to read your issue of Just My Type so you can learn how to enter our contest to win a $100 Yarnmarket gift certificate.

These days, who couldn't use a $100 gift certificate for yarn?!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy birthday, Patsy!

In 1964, we were in Miss Staniland's class at Dennis Avenue Public School when our principal (the dreaded Miss Jack) escorted a pretty little girl to the front of the room. She didn't look scared at all, which was surprising considering that every eye was glued to her. She was introduced to us as, "Patsy Leece."

Patsy was, without question, the prettiest girl in the class. The girls were envious, the little boys were intrigued.

Patsy had just moved to Toronto from London, Ontario with her mother and sister because her parents had divorced. Up until that moment, I was the only girl in the school with divorced parents. We had something in common, and immediately gravitated toward one another. (In those days, they said we were from a "broken home" and some of the kids told us their parents wouldn't allow them to play with us. Oh, things have changed since then.)

Patsy and I became inseparable friends even though I was what you'd consider the class "browner" and she had much better things to do than to study.

We were the goofiest little kids you'd ever want to meet -- always up to something. If we weren't riding the TTC all the way downtown to take a tour of the new City Hall and crawl on Henry Moore's enormous statue, we were on our bikes headed to a park somewhere to sit under willow trees and enjoy the flowers. We played in bushes, followed boys who were interested in only one of us (guess which one?), and we had sleep-overs almost every week.

It seems to me that Patsy and I weren't afraid of anything. We weren't afraid to ride our bikes 30 miles from Toronto to Newmarket to visit my Grandma and Grandpa. We weren't afraid to go with her cousin Teddy on a road trip to Ottawa. We weren't afraid to hop on a Greyhound bus to travel way north in Ontario to Port Sydney to see her Grandma who lived all alone in a tiny house.

(Patsy's Grandma was the first conservationist I ever met. She'd empty out cans, remove both ends, wash them and then stomp on them to make them flat. She put vegetable matter outside in her gardens, and the burned in her wood stove anything that was flammable. She was a remarkable little old lady when I met her...and she lived to be about 100 years old.)

When I was twelve, my family moved to a suburb of Toronto. Those miles couldn't keep us apart. At that time it would take me three different buses to get to Patsy's house. (Trethewy bus to Eglinton, Eglinton bus to Guestville. Jane Street bus to Baby Point.) If I didn't travel to her place for the weekend, Patsy traveled to mine. She was my mom's other daughter.

Sometimes in the middle of the week, we'd meet halfway -- at Yorkdale -- Toronto's first big shopping mall. We'd buy helium balloons (which we named Simon and Garfunkel) and walk around the mall for a few hours until it was time for both of us to head home to bed because we had school the next day. We'd bid goodbye at the bus stop as she headed back toward Mt. Dennis and I went back home to Downsview. It was late. It was dark. And we weren't the least bit afraid.

I loved our adventures together, and I enjoy them still today as memories of what it was like to be a kid in Toronto in the 1960s. We had something that children today wouldn't even comprehend. We had freedom. We could go anyplace we wanted and do whatever was fun because the world was safe and if we crossed the line, an adult was surely going to give us heck. (In those days adults were allowed to discipline kids, even if there weren't their own.)

We knew that strangers could be dangerous and we were vigilant against shady characters. Sure, we'd meet up with them on occasion but we were smart enough to know what to do. And then we'd run away and giggle hysterically about how we'd outsmarted the bad guy.

Patsy and I laughed and plotted and had secret codes. She knew that wherever we were, we needed to find a bathroom because I had to pee. I knew that even though she'd never admit it, she was secretly in love with my brother, John. She knew I anguished over the fact that I was NEVER going to hit puberty. I knew she was going to streak her hair even though her mother had forbidden her. She knew I loved Jack King. I knew she wanted to make out with Norm Granger (because John, being my brother, was off limits).

Could life ever be that simple again?

When we were teenagers, Patsy moved back to London to live with her dad. Think that kept us apart? No way! For $14 I could go out to Toronto International Airport and hop on a plane at the "Student Rate." She and her Dad would pick me up and then I'd fly back home on Sunday. Do you think it EVER occurred to me that a fifteen year old kid can't take a bus to an airport and hop on a plane to see her friend?

Wouldn't have occurred to Patsy, either.

Eventually our lives took very different paths and we lost touch for over 30 years. Then, last year, through the miracle of the Internet I found her. And do you know what? It was as if we'd never been apart.

The conversation picked up just as if we'd been talking on the phone and one of us had said, "Oh, can you hold on a second..."

Today Patsy lives in a place so remote that you can't even find it on Google Maps. (Isn't that great?!) She writes the funniest emails, creates the most beautiful artwork, and plants gorgeous gardens that attract the critters she feeds and cares for.

She's got stories of her life's adventures that are so unbelievable that I know they've got to be true.

Pasty, I hope you'll sit down at your computer and start writing one of these days. I hope you'll write about our neighborhood in Toronto and all the fun we had when children were children and bad guys were where they belonged -- in jail. I hope you'll write about the adventures we enjoyed all by ourselves in Albion Hills, Heart Lake, High Park and at the Exhibition. I hope you'll write about going to the drive-in with your cousin to see The Graduate over and over and over again because you loved Dustin Hoffman, and making Teddy drive us through Yorkville so we could look at the hippies.

I hope you'll put it all down so people will know there was a time when little girls could ride their bikes and take buses and airplanes and go anywhere they wanted whenever the inclination struck them. There was a time when we could run and play in forests and gardens and know that if we hid our pop under a rock in the stream to keep it cold, it would still be there when we wanted it. I hope you'll remind people that there once was a time when little girls could be clever and silly and innocent and hopeful and free.

I hope you'll do it because the world has changed...even if you and I haven't. (And I'm certain we wouldn't even want to!)

Happy birthday, buddy. Now sit down and write that book.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bye, bye Brenda!

Tomorrow is a very sad day here at YarnMartian Central. Tomorrow, Brenda is leaving us.

We're really sad to see her go because Brenda has brought a lot of fun and energy to the place. And cookies. She also brought cookies. Can't forget the cookies.

As you may recall if you've been reading this blog for a while, Brenda used to steal my Grand-daughter Madison when she came to visit. Brenda longed for a grand-child of her own.

Well, her daughter decided to make her Mom's dreams come true by presenting her with two (TWO!!!) grand-babies that are going to be born very soon -- all the way out in California. As you can imagine, as soon as she learned about the impending arrival of these grand-babies, Brenda decided to retire to the West Coast. Next week she'll be joining her daughter and son-in-law and leaving her Yarnmarket family behind.

Her husband, Mike, will be driving all their worldly possessions across the continent where his happy, oh so very happy wife will be awaiting him.

We're tickled to death that Brenda and Mike are so looking forward to this exciting new chapter in their lives. And we wish them all the best. Safe travels. The safe and healthy arrival of twin boys. And a safe delivery for their mom.

We're so sorry to see you go, Brenda. But it couldn't have been under happier circumstances. We'll miss you.


CD101, Columbus' Alternative Rock, is here at Yarnmarket

That Stef...she's so clever. She signed us up for the local alternative radio station's Ice Cream Van. And I just heard it pull up into our parking lot. And you know what that means?

Yes, the diet I started on this morning is now officially over. I mean, there's ICE CREAM OUTSIDE! It's waiting in the van...and it has my name on it.

If you aren't familiar with CD101, or you're out of our area, you might want to listen to it online at I've been a listener since the first night they went on air. It was a fluke that Alex and I were going up and down the radio band when we discovered a station playing the alternative rock we like.

Yes. We may be geezers, but we're music-loving geezers.

Alex frightens me by listening to Scissor Sisters, the Pogues and Arcade Fire. I like The Fray, Doves, Muse, Temper Trap and The Killers.

I suspect we both like Toad the Wet Sprocket. Are they still around?

Michele will take photos of our friends from CD101 and I'll post 'em. Well...after I've gorged myself on ice cream. The photo is up. That's Stef with Tara from CD101.

These kid's sweaters are just too cute! And so are the kids!

One of our very talented YarnMartians is Julie. Julie does incredible things that are so creatively crafty that I'm in awe of her. When she dyed yarn with Jell-O she won my eternal admiration.

Recently, Julie knitted up a sweater for her niece and nephew. When she sent me these photos I told her I just had to share them. Aren't they adorable?

Julie's niece is wearing the Baby Owlet by Kate Davies. You can find the pattern on Ravelry. She used Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran in color 220...which you can find at Yarnmarket, of course.

Julie's nephew is in a sweater from the book Berroco 284, Family Comfort. The pattern is #13 "Wee Willie II." Julie used Berroco Comfort Chunky 5713 Dusk and 5760 Beet Root.

Thanks for sharing your creations with us, Julie! I'm inspired to go get myself some grandkids to knit for!

And that brings me to an entirely different story...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CAT's Raveling at Rhinebeck in her newest video

In this newest episode of Let's Knit2Gether, CAT is back at Rhinebeck where she meets up with the gang from Ravelry...including Bob. It's a bigger-than-life Bob, but Bob nonetheless.

Join CAT as she contributes to an enormous sock, enjoys hot chocolate and looks at the gorgeous woolen goods and souvenirs at this most famous of yarn and sheep festivals. sure to stay to the end. She shows you our Fabulous Felines. For those who don't know, the white and orange goofy looking cat in the Fabulous Felines logo is my pussycat, Kim. He's in pussycat heaven now, and I'm still broken up by his loss. Yes...those little critters leave paw prints on your heart that last a lifetime.

Congratulations to Betty Morgan...winner of our Spotlight on Tahki Contest

Betty Morgan of Fairfax, VT was selected in a random drawing of all the correct answers we received our our Tahki Spotlight Contest.

Betty will be receiving a gift package worth $130. The prize includes a copy of Tahki Yarns Garden Variety plus 10 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic and 10 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic Lite in a Yarnmarket deluxe bag.

Thanks to all of you who entered. We're so glad you're enjoying our Spotlight newsletter, and we hope you enter our next contest when the Spotlight is on Lantern Moon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New! Mini Mochi Solids and a whole lot more!

Our May Bulletin has just been released and we've got lots of new yarns and projects for summer. Knit One, Crochet Too has just introduced Ty-Dy Dots, crafted in Italy of 100% supersoft cotton, but it's dyed so that you get a terrific summer tweed effect. The crochet Yoke Tunic, shown here, recently made the cover of Knit 'n Style magazine.

From those wonderful folks at Crystal Palace who brought us Mini Mochi, we now present Mini Mochi Solids -- the same machine-washable, supersoft blend of 80% merino wool & 20% nylon dyed in shades that complement the original. So now you can combine coordinating solids to accent your favorite self-striping color combo of Mini Mochi. Or you can use Mini Solid by itself for fingering-weight projects such as socks, lace designs, gloves, even baby items.

In a similar vein, our friends at Aslan Trends have added solids to their popular Tango line. Tango Solids and Tango Multi are terrific for lightweight summer tops.

Check out your copy of Yarnmarket Bulletin to see the latest yarns, books, and patterns. And if you're not receiving them now, be sure to sign up for our newsletters, bulletins and Spotlights so you'll be well informed about what's new to the yarn market and what you can find in our shop.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

And the winner of the lost sheep contest is...

Elisha of Australia!

Wouldn't you know it would be an Aussie who finds the lost sheep and wins the book? I'll be sending it halfway across the world on Monday.

Many thanks to all of you Little Bo Peeps who searched the Noro pages for the sheep. We hope you had fun!

We'll have another Lost Sheep book giveaway next stay posted!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Find the lost lamb and you could win an autographed copy of Noro The World of Nature

This poor little lamb has lost its way. It's somewhere in the Noro section of Yarnmarket...and you need to find it.

Once you've found the lamb, email the page link to:

We'll select one winner to receive a copy of Noro The World of Nature that has been autographed by Eisaku Noro himself!

Entries will be accepted until midnight ET on May 14. (This is to let our Yarnmarket friends throughout the world enter.)

One entry per person please. The winner will be determined by a random drawing from all correct entries received.


We just released our newest BargainYARNS Alert and it's got some great deals on yarns. For example, all Premier Yarns are 20% off for one week only.

Deborah Norville Serenity Sock is just $2.62 per skein.

We've also got lots of new "Almost Perfect" pattern books that are 50% off the suggested manufacturers' prices. Most of these books have tiny nicks or creases that are hard to find. Check out our HUGE selection of Irregular books at fantastic BargainYARNS prices.

And be sure to sign up for our Alert so you'll be among the first to know when new savings arrive.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Announcing...the winner of our May Newsletter Contest!

This month we challenged our Yarnmarket Newsletter readers to answer this question: Who is the designer for two of the Tiger Lily/May Flower of the Month Garments from Fiesta?

The answer is: Ellen Liguori.

We received over 450 entries, many with very creative spellings of Ellen's last name. But, don't worry...spelling didn't count! (Though we'd like to give special thanks to those of you who actually wrote to correct the spelling on your original entries!)

The grand prize winner of a $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate is...

Katy W., of Lansdale, PA.

Congratulations, Katy. Your Yarnmarket Gift Certificate is on the way!

Be sure to read next month's never know when you could win a great Yarnmarket prize.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tahki Spotlight will be released tomorrow...and you could win a gift package worth over $130!

Be sure to read your issue of Spotlight on Tahki when you receive it tomorrow. You could win a Tahki Yarns Summer Gift Package worth over $130. This fantastic prize includes a copy of Tahki Yarns Garden Variety plus 10 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic and 10 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic Lite.

To enter, you must answer this question: "Tahki Stacy Charles distributes four brands of yarns, all of which are available at Yarnmarket. What are the names of those brands?"

Send an email with your answer to

Entries must be received by 5/18/2010 at midnight ET. One entry per person, please!

Garden of Caledon Hills

Over the weekend, my Mom sent this photo of her backyard and I thought I'd share it with you. She works so hard to create beautiful gardens for her wild turkeys, chipmunks and squirrels.

They said on the documentary Earth that animals have an appreciation for aesthetics. Flowers are colorful and fragrant so they'll attract bees. If this is true -- and it must be -- then it's little wonder that animals flock to my mother's backyard.

Oh, the black rectangle in the foreground at the top is a bird feeder. It's usually covered in pretty yellow finches.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Congratulations to the winners of our Mother's Day Contest!

I was so touched by the stories knitters wrote about their mothers that I had a really difficult time determining a winner. I read about Moms who've overcome hardships and illnesses, Moms whose determination helped build character in their daughters, creative Moms who passed down their talents to their daughters and a troubled Mom whose legacy is a child who has become a wonderful mother herself.

How can you select just one when offered such choices...with beautiful stories written from the heart?

It was so difficult that I decided to ask Alex if I can award more than one prize. Because he's a sweety, he agreed.

So I'm happy to announce that a $50 Gift Certificate will be awarded to Frances.

Debd94, Nikki, Mary Le Master, Kim Ventura, Nanamammah and Ninja Ryder will each receive a Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for $20. Please send me your email addresses (to deborah at yarnmarket dot com) and I'll send your prizes right away.

I hope this makes your Mother's Day even nicer for you than it's already been.

And before I go, I want to say an extra special "Happy Mother's Day" to my own Mom who gave me so much. I know today has been particularly difficult for her because we lost my older brother less than two years ago. He was always at her door on Mother's Day with card and a big bouquet of flowers.

John, I sent Mom a big bouquet. I'm sure she knows they were really from you.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dow Jones Index tumbles 1000 points in ten minutes. It wasn't Ralph's fault.

My step-father's one of the funniest guys I know. His perspective on the world really cracks me up. He names everything -- from the Martian bug that lives in the kitchen to the cottage he accidentally built on someone else's property. "Stupid of the North."

When he invested in a crawdad trap, he bought some crawdads to test it. He named them "Joan" and "Broderick."

Ralph can tell you about the origins of the universe, the history of Harry Rosen (the Toronto tailor), and the world economy. He can tell you how to read a horse racing form, who starred in every movie from about 1935, the words to every old song ever recorded, and why the stock market does the things it does. He can even explain why the market fell through the floor yesterday afternoon.

Ralph was the first trader in the entire world to use computerized trading. Honest to God! It was around 1974 when we noticed he'd written on the calendar in the kitchen, "CATS." It appeared every couple of weeks.

My Mom thought Ralph was doing something with Snyder and Polecat (yes, my step-father named our pets). But it turned out that CATS stood for Computer Assisted Trading System. The Toronto Stock Exchange was creating a system to trade stocks by computer and Ralph, being a technophobe, didn't think it could or should be done. So he joined the committee with the intent of proving it wasn't such a great idea.

But by trouble-shooting the concept, Ralph turned out to be aiding and abetting the enemy.

Before you knew it, they'd developed the system and to see if it worked, Ralph became the CATS committee's guinea pig. He jokingly referred to his computer as HAL, and was delighted that when he fired it up every morning it said on the monitor, "Good morning, Ralph."

Well, that's what he told us, but maybe he was joking. Ralph's got that great sense of humor and would crack jokes and tell stories that made me spit out my food or pee my pants regularly at the dinner table. (I think it was a game everyone played. Let's see who can make Debi choke on her food tonight.)

From his office on Adelaide Street, Ralph traded his stocks by computer...and when the computer crashed -- as computers are wont to do -- he'd have to run down the block to the floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange to make sure the market was maintained.

Think about it. It was 1974. Most of us were baffled by the complexity of Pong. Ralph was trading online.

The test proved to be a success and the system was fully implemented. Eventually the trading floor in Toronto was closed as everyone switched to computers. The Paris exchange liked the system so much that they bought it from the TSE. A few years later when some bonehead moves in Toronto messed up what they'd originally invented, the TSE bought the program back from Paris. That always makes me laugh. I invent something. I sell it. I wreck it. I have to buy it back from the guy I sold it to. I suspect somebody got fired for that.

Yesterday when the (alleged) fat-fingered guy at Citibank hit a "B" instead of an "M" I thought back to Ralph saying that you need humans making decisions and overseeing the process. He knew that 35 years ago. (BTW, the "N" is beside the "B". How the heck did he hit a "B"? Nobody's finger is that fat, except maybe for Shreck.)

So, hat's off to Ralph for his prescience! He knew this could happen and had warned about it. The computerized bids to sell at a certain price would kick in automatically if no one was monitoring the activity.

I hope the market corrects itself today after regulators untangle the mess and people realize that if the market were real P&G wouldn't be worth a penny.

Boy, I wouldn't want to be one of the guys who has to sort out the mess. Maybe they ought to call Ralph.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Announcing the winner of our Noro Contest!

First of all, thanks to all of you for entering our Noro contest. It was great fun to read your entries...especially the ones that mentioned we'd pulled a fast one!

Our newsletter indicated 24 yarns, but we had 25 Noro yarns on our site. This is because we decided to add one at the last minute. We accepted both answers as correct.

I'd like to give very special thanks to those of you who counted all the colors. Oh,'re over-achievers!

Congratulations to Dee F. of Wilmington, DE. She's the happy winner of an autographed copy of Noro Volume 26, a copy of Noro: Meet The Man; 10 skeins of Furin yarn, a set of size 8 Lantern Moon blonde needles plus a deluxe Yarnmarket bag.

We're going to be giving away more autographed copies of Noro Volume 26 so be sure to read Shear Bagatelle or sign up to Yarnmarket on Facebook or Twitter so you'll know how to win!

Lace Blocking -- It's Not As Hard As You'd Think!

CAT makes everything look easy. If you sat her down and said, "Explain quantum mechanics in terms I can understand," she'd be able to do it. So I'm not surprised that she makes lace blocking look like a walk in the park.'ll be surprised at how easy it is.

Be sure to watch right to the end because after the video is over, we're treated to the out-takes. I always love the out-takes. This week we hear CAT do her impression of the Mackenzie Brothers (coo-roo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo) from Second City and then she breaks out into one of my all-time favorites, Geddy Lee of Rush singing, "Take off!"

Goofy fact of the day: The term "hoser" started in the Downsview area of Toronto in the 1970s when I was a teenager. Rick Moranis -- who was from our area -- and Dave Thomas didn't have to stretch too far when they created the bacon-frying, beer-swilling goofballs for the SCTV skit. They were acting like every boy I went to school with.

And, get this! (CAT is going to be so jealous.) Rush used to play our high school dances. Neat, eh?

Take a look at CAT's latest Let's Knit2Gether video...and then knit yourself up a pretty lace toque! Coo-roo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo!