Jan - Feb 2008




1. A Message From Our President
2. Who’s Who at CNKG
3. Happenings of Note
4. Show and Tell
5. Knitting on the Web
6. Knitting Hints and Trivia
7. The Book Nook
8. Knitting in Art
9 Just For Fun
10. Knitting For Others
11. Calendar of Events



Happy New Year to us all!

Many of us have already made our New Year resolutions but please add one more to your list.

Classes, classes, classes! I am encouraging you all to expand your knitting knowledge and go outside your comfort zone. I know it sounds scary but you’re not alone; we all feel the same.

I remember when I was bored making only scarves, and I took a chance on a sock class. This was quite scary since I couldn’t even hold circular, double pointed needles or fingering yarn. I’m so glad I took a chance because now I’m enjoying the adventures in sockland. I made a new friend with this fiber connection and we look forward to our get-togethers to share what we have made, ideas we have and of course...yarn shopping! So much I would have missed.

We have so many shops to visit and they all have classes just waiting for us to expand our knowledge. So, go have some fun and don’t forget your daily dose of fiber!

-Betty Jensen




President - Betty Jensen
Vice President (programs) - Cara Summerfield
Secretary - Barb Hahn
Treasurer - Fran and Larry Frazin

and committee chairmen:
Membership - Mary Schirtzinger
Altruistic - Francine Ebersman and Jo-Ann Mullen
Newsletter - Lesley Fry
Holiday Party - Regina Esposito
Birthday Wishes - Bev Walker







Lesley Fry, our wonderful newsletter editor, changes hats this time, and sits in the interview chair for this issue's Who's Who at Cactus Needles. We all know she loves to knit socks, tons of them, and sweaters. She is also a very charitable knitter. Many of her beautiful donated items have helped to raise monies for The Kidney Foundation. But let's let her now tell us about her many activities. Thank you, Lesley, for all you do for Cactus Needles. --Mary

Tell me where you grew up and something about your family
I'm originally from Rhode Island but spent my high school and college years in Florida. After graduation I moved to New Jersey, then back to RI. I've been in Arizona for 28 years this month. I had one sister and two husbands but the good ones have died. My immediate family now consists of my two sons, their wives, 2 grandsons and 1 granddaughter who loves to have me knit sweaters for her. Guess what she's getting for her birthday this month?

Are you currently or have you ever been employed? If so, in what field?
I'm so busy now I don't know how I got anything done before I retired! I started out as a seventh grade social studies teacher but have had a number of different occupations including hospital patient accounts manager, real estate sales, mortgage lending and lastly, title company escrow officer. Frankly, being retired is the best job I've ever had!

What brought you to Arizona?
My husband sold his business and we looked around RI for another one to buy but finally decided that we might as well move to Arizona then rather than waiting untill we retired. His sister had married an AZ native and his parents had already retired here, so we were already familiar with the area.

What is your first knitting memory?
My grandmother would come to visit and always made sweaters and hats for my sister and me. My aunt (her daughter) also was never without a pair of needles in her hands.

Who taught you to knit and how old were you?
I vaguely remember my mother showing me how when I was about 6, but I really owe it all to my great-uncle's wife who stayed with us for a week while our parents were out of town. When they came back I had finished a mitten and was on the second one. I was about 8 at the time. I also remember using a cable needle at age 10 or 11 but not what I was making.

Do you have a memorable knitting project?
I still have the sock doll I made in Girl Scouts and the vest I knitted for her. I also made one white sock (or part of one) when I was in high school but never made the second one. I'm making up for that now. When I was dating my second husband I made an Icelandic sweater for him as a gift but it fit me, so I made an identical one for him. We did get married, so I don't believe in the sweater curse.

What do you prefer knitting and who do you knit for?
My favorite projects are sweaters, socks and mittens, things that have some detailing or variety in construction. My granddaughter, almost 11, keeps me busy with requests for sweaters and I make things for other family members, too. The socks are for me as I have extremely skinny feet, they are fast to make, are portable and good for KIP projects. I have also made a lot of things for the Arizona Kidney Foundation's auctions and I enjoy making mittens for charity.

What is your favorite pattern (mindless or intense)?
I enjoy making Aran Isle sweaters (once I get the pattern established) but I also need something easier for when I watch TV or knit in public such as a plain sock or blanket squares. I try to have 2 or 3 projects going at once varying in complexity and size.

Do you have a favorite yarn?
I love alpaca but have yet to make anything with it. I do admit to being a yarn snob and prefer soft wools such as merino. I also find mohair easy to work with. For charity and children I stick to Plymouth Encore. Regardless of what I start out with, it usually ends up about 2% cat fur.

What are your top three colors?
Shades of red, turquoise and blue. I love bright colors.

What type of needles do you prefer?
I like the new Knit Picks circulars even better than the few Addi Turbos I have, but I still use my Denise (resin) needles for slippery yarns like mohair. I do not like wood or plastic. I'm a traditional 4 needle sock knitter although I will use two circs for a hat or sleeve if I happen to have two of the size I need. I'll also use the magic loop in a pinch.

What fibers do you absolutely not like?
Red Heart acrylic. Ugh! It makes my hands hurt and I refuse to knit with it. I also don't like knitting with 100% cotton as it has no give.

What knit item do you wear the most?
My red pullover, the first sweater I designed. I love the yarn which is 50% llama. I can never tell if the long hairs are llama or stray cat fur.

What is your most valuable knitting technique?
Making a computer spread sheet when knitting an Aran Isle pattern that has been written with each separate design as a separate pattern. The different patterns never have the same number of rows in a repeat and this makes it much easier to follow.

Why do you knit?
Relaxation, creativity, charity, clothing needs, gifts, and socializing, Besides, the adage says "idle hands are the devil's workshop"

How do you continue to learn so much about knitting?
The internet, books, friends, and of course, CNKG.

Do you have ideas for future programs for CNKG?
I'd love to learn how to do steeks and sew in zippers.

Future plans and interests - occupation, travel, hobby, favorite movie, food, books, etc.
Most of you know that I hope to move to Maine and am getting my house ready to sell. Of course, with the real estate market in the pits, it may be awhile. The area I have chosen, mid-coast, is full of knitters and everything they need as well as two opera houses with top notch events, two libraries and an animal rescue, all of which need volunteers. There is also a town band for me to join. Throw in ocean views, sailing, snow activities, blueberries, fall scenery, spring flowers, real clam chowder,,,,,, and you can see why I chose this area. They don't have a knitting guild (yet!) but I've already been invited to join a small group in a nearby town.







Terry and Fred from Tempe Yarn and Fiber
were the guest speakers at our November meeting. Many of us at one time or another have thought it would be nice (fun?) to own a yarn store. Well, Terry actually did something about it and even got her husband to go along with her, and they opened their Tempe store in 2006. Well, it ain't so easy, my friend! We heard about all the problems and pitfalls that new shop owners face including yarn suppliers who ask retailers for a huge minimum order which is impossible for a new merchant stocking a store from stratch. But over the last year and a half this store has become a mecca for local knitters. They have a beautiful selection of yarn including a virtual rainbow in solid wools. They have a monthly calendar on the web (or by e-mail) with classes including spinning and one just for men.And photos of all new yarns are posted on the web. They are open from 10 to 8:30 M-F if you need to stop by after work. Thank you, Terry and Fred, for a very informative and entertaining program.



On Saturday, November 10th, eight happy knitters headed south for a new knit-in adventure. Where? The Farm at South Mountain, an oasis in the desert. Who would believe that such a lush, green, working farm exists in Arizona!? Starting early in the morning, Jackie, Francine, June, Bev, Cara, Anne, Lesley and Penny hunkered down at the outdoor restaurant for a full day of gabbing, eating and of course, knitting. Getting there early afforded them a table with an awning so no one got sunburned!! Everyone dined on different selections from the "order-your-own" cafeteria style deli and the food was so good that many shared samples. The weather was warm and so pleasant the group stayed until the restaurant started cleaning up for dinner!

contributed by Penny

Thank you, Penny, for hosting (and TREATING) us to such a delightful day at The Farm!




Our December meeting was replaced by our annual holiday party which again was held at Rock Bottom in Desert Ridge. Regina did another fabulous job organizing everything and running the show. For those of you who didn't make it, you missed a great evening! The food was great, one of the reasons we returned again this year. And of course we had Jackie's sweater cookies for desert.

A huge pile of blankets was presented to Judie for Project Linus, members chose gifts from another table, and we had our "Chinese auction" or "Yankee Swap" yarn exchange.Donna won the auction for a shawl knit by Regina. And what has turned into an annual Dreidel Song phone call went to Jackie Awerman, one of our founding mothers who keeps sending us yarn to make blankets for Project Linus. Thank you again, Jackie! We love you for this.


Marcia with a P.L. blanket..........Regina, our M.C.........Donna won the raffled shawl.........Jackie's fab cookies



Blankets for Project Linus....................................Gifts to swap.........................................Yarn to exchange















Jackie excitedly waved this yarn because she wanted us to know we are finally about to see the last of it. She bought 24 skeins on sale to use in charity pojects and some of us swear she has been knitting with nothing else for the last 5 years! We know that's not true, but it sure seems that way. We just hope she doesn't have 24 skeins of the next yarn!




Here's a pattern of a different stripe - it's an optical illusion dishcloth or table mat.

A random stripe generator? Is this Penny's secret?

Pattern! We have patterns! Mag Knits is sort of like Knitty, but without all the articles. Here you will find lots of patterns along with photos. Check out their archive.

Vickie Howell (of Knitty Gritty fame) has teemed up with our own local Southwest Trading Company to produce 4 new yarns. As usual, (or unusual), they include fibers not normally associated with yarn including MILK FIBER! Huh?

I have added my name and address to the sign up sheet for Ravelry.com. I'm not exactly sure what it is and I can't use it until I am actually invited and that looks like about a 2 week wait. If you look at the site, it appears to include organization methods for your stash, completed projects, patterns, etc., a way to share with others, and lots more, all on line.

My nephew Dan says "The idea is that you can put in your projects by pattern name (it doesn't list the pattern).Since each pattern is a record in a database table, if other people have also listed the same pattern you can see all of those projects with a click.

It also works for yarns, so if you had a yarn that you liked you could see what other people had done with it. It's sort of like going through the imdb [internet movie data base], bouncing from movie to actor then movie again, except that the more of your own projects you put in the more you can see from people who did the same projects. It's amazing to see how many interpretations there can be of the same pattern.

I'm very impressed. I think it's the best social networking site I've seen. Then again, they have a winning formula--patterns and yarns form social networks and people want to put in their own stuff and see what other people have done with them."

Dan also claims his wife is addicted to it.




No fair! In Clonial times the "No Child Left Behind" concert includedacrafts! By the age of seven or eight, all children in American schools had been taught basic reading and spelling, had lessons in morality, and had mastered the fundamentals of knitting.

from the Stitch 'n Bitch calendar, shared by Francine

Hey guys, this is YOUR newsletter! How about some contributions here!




Romantic Hand Knits: 26 Flirtatious Designs That Flatter Your Figure

144 pages
Hardcover Dimensions: 10 x 7.4 x 0.5 inches
Publisher: Potter Craft
List price $27.50

Romance is alive and well in the sweet and sexy clothing and accessory designs you’ll find in Romantic Hand Knits. Exquisite drape married with figure-hugging silhouettes show off a woman’s curves in a most ladylike manner, creating flirtatious and flattering fits to please any knitter. Loosely based on ultra-feminine styles from fashion history, the designs in Romantic Hand Knits have an undeniably modern appeal.

• A lace camisole is lengthened and reinvented as a lovely summer slip dress
• A late-eighteenth-century corset cover inspires the design for a lacy fitted top with elbow-length sleeves
• Silk stockings favored by Elizabethan ladies of the royal court return in a sexy and fresh incarnation

With the new fibers available today, knitting guru Annie Modesitt knits up fabrics that cling delicately to a woman’s body, creating an elegant hand-tailored look. Now every woman will be able to create fitted garments that make her look as pretty, desirable, and sexy as she feels.

For knitters who want to heat things up in a whole new way, the alluring designs in Romantic Hand Knits will help them light the fires.

For an interview with author Annie Modesitt, go here: http://www.amazon.com/Romantic-Hand-Knits-Flirtatious-Designs/dp/030734696X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198778670&sr=1-1

The Any Yarn, Any Size Knit Hat Book
144 pages
spiral OR perfect bound (whatever that is) OR as a downloadable PDF
Dimensions 10.8 x 8.1 x 0.4 inches
Published by Lulu
List Price $29.95

Just in time for our "back to school cap competition, we bring you hats, hats, and yet more hats! Here are 45 styles and variations and 17 sizes to choose from, illustrated throughout with black and white photographs with color versions available online. By the author of "Kids Knit!" and owner of Knitting-and.com.

Knitter's Review .com has a very nice write up at http://knittersreview.com/article_book.asp?article=/review/reading/071101_a.asp






Most representations of knitting in art have been produced from the 18th century on. This painting, by Meister Bertram von Minden, Germany, was done near the end of the 14th century. Titled “The Madonna Knitting Christ’s Seamless Garment”, it represents the Virgin Mary making a tunic in the round, using 4 needles. The tradition of the seamless garment describes a scene at the crucifixtion, when the Roman soldiers cast lots to win possession of it, not wishing to tear up such a valuable item of clothing. Two churches, the cathedral at Trier and the parish church of Argenteuil, claim to have possession of the actual garment. Trier claims that it was brought to them by the Empress Saint Helena, who also is supposed to have found the True Cross. The French believe that theirs was brought there by Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor. Both claims date from the 1100’s.

Most probably, Christ’s clothing was woven, not knitted. But it’s a lovely painting and a lovely thought.




Back again with an Emerson Cod tidbit. He's the Private Eye on Pushing Daisies I mentioned in the last issue. In a more recent episode, "Emerson Cod was enjoying the latest issue of Knit Wit magazine, his literary outlet for knitting humor, when....." Evidently one of the script writers has a yarn addiction.

The movie "Look Back in Anger" (with Richard Burton and Claire Bloom) has a scene where the old landlady opens the newspaper to a headline in big, bold letters which says "SEX PILLS. A Woman's ghastly ordeal by a mother whose voice went husky and who lost her liking for knitting.

From a web item about Iraq 2800 years ago:
"Just like the White House today, there had to be images of the former kings as they passed on to the gods. A great image of the king was carved into stone with such fine detail that one might think that his grandmother had knitted it."

Would you believe a knitting machine made entirely of......Legos?

What can you do with all those old straightl needles you no longer use? Give them to Jackie for her 5th grade knitting classes. What do other people do with them? Make jewelry!

Both Judie and your editor's son David contributed this Wall Street Journal article (reprinted in the Arizona Republic on 12/29) about killer sock wars, complete with photos, a video and a sock pattern. What's a sock war? Read this and you may want to participate next year.







The Precious Pals Program provides immediate comfort to children in crisis by providing thousands of stuffed animals with knitted outfits to law enforcement agencies and other first responders all over the United States. The Knitting Guild Association members and conference attendees provide stuffed animals with hand-knitted outfits and bring them to conferences to be presented to local agencies. According to one law officer, the Pals are invaluable. The children sometimes tell the animal what happened, then the animal “tells” the investigating officer.

Where Do the Bears Come From to Knit Outfits For? The web site gives lots of suggestions including sales after Christmas (that means NOW) and Valentine's Day (next month) Or you can sew or knit the bear. And it doesn't even have to be a bear - it can be any stuffed animal. For more information, free patterns, and where to send the bears, go to http://tkga.com/preciouspals.shtm




Other Knit Events are scheduled throughout the month. Check your e-mail for additional dates and knitting together locations. Look for updates throughout the month from this correspondent.

Newsletter Address: http://members.cox.net/cactusneedles/


1/7 Monday, CNKG Monthly Meeting
CNKG Monthly Meeting
6:30 pm - 8:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix
4027 Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Program: Chris Payne, Copyright Lawyer: Can I photo copy that fantastic pattern and give it to Jane? Is this "free" pattern on-line safe for me to copy for charity knits? Learn more about the basics of copyright laws as they pertain to knitting from Chris Payne, a Phoenix lawyer specializing in copyright laws.

Dinner for Hungry Knitters - 5 p.m.
Streets of New York
NE corner of 44th and Camelback

1/12 Saturday, Project Linus Blanket Bee
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fountain Hills Community Center, 13001 N. La Montana Dr.

Bring a brown bag lunch - coffee, bottled water and sodas will be provided

Next Blanket Challenge - March 22, 2008
Quilters: space theme
Crocheters/knitters: use colors blue and red

1/19 Saturday, Westminster Village, 1 - 3 p.m.
Happy Hookers and CNKG knit for Project Linus
Westminster Village
12000 North 90th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Program: Westminster Chaplain, Jan Wilner
will demonstrate Norwegian Hardanger Embroidery.
The beauty of this needle art is in its simplicity.
Participation will be encouraged.

Lunch for Hungry Knitters
Mimi's on Shea, 11:30 a.m
RSVP Jackie by Friday a.m

1/21 Monday NIT NITE, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Borders, across from Paradise Valley Mall
4555 E. Cactus Rd (South side of Cactus)

1/25 Friday Jo-Ann’s Own Knitting Event, 4:30 p.m.
Second Annual el Torito Knitting Event
West side of Scottsdale Road, north of Borgata, south of The Quilted Bear

The first 10 knitters to rsvp (and attend) will each receive a token souvenir.

Please RSVP JoAnn by the morning of 1/25
jmullen2 (at) aol.com
480- 951-5053


2/4 Monday, CNKG Monthly Meeting CNKG Monthly Meeting
6:30 pm - 8:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix
4027 Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Program: Wallaby Revisited
February & March - Wallybees with Regina: So popular, she is back for more! Famous guild member Regina teaches us how to create a simple hoodie sweater for kids. So action packed it will take 2 months!

Dinner for Hungry Knitters - 5 p.m.
Streets of New York
NE corner of 44th and Camelback

2/11 Monday “June’s Own Knitting Event”
12:30 p.m.
Tempe Yarn and Fiber
University Plaza
1435 E. University, # A103
Tempe - 480-557-9166
Light snack & drinks will be served.
The shop is always closed on Monday, but CNKG members are special!

Directions: Located between McClintock (Hayden) and Rural (Scottsdale Rd) on the south side of University. This is right beside the Picnic Company Restaurant. Caution: There is an ambulance company in the same location so be cautious when entering that there are no emergency vehicles needing to use the entrance to the mall. The only entrance serves as an exit also.
Map to yarn store.

2/16 Saturday, Westminster Village, 1 - 3 p.m.
Happy Hookers and CNKG knit for Project Linus
Westminster Village
12000 North 90th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Lunch for Hungry Knitters
Mimi's on Shea, 11:30 a.m.
RSVP Jackie by Friday a.m
. 480-948-3329

2/18 MondayNIT NITE, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Borders, across from Paradise Valley Mall
4555 E. Cactus Rd (South side of Cactus)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Knitters and Fiberholics
10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m., Wednesday
Tempe Yarn and Fiber
For information - June Whisel at june.whisel@cox.net

Knitting for the Needy
Meeting Dates: 1st Monday of the month, 3rd Wednesday of the month.
Location: Scottsdale Senior Center 1 -3 p.m.
10440 East Via Linda
Knitting for the Needy knits slippers and caps for homeless in Phoenix area.

Meetup Knitting Group
Meeting Dates : 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, 2 p.m.
Location: Borders Books, Tempe, 699 S. Mill Avenue
Park below in parking garage.
Free parking on Sunday.
Knitting group meets near "Cafe Espress" in store.
Knitters of all persuasions and skill levels.
Get together to gap, compare projects and swap patterns.

Stitch n' Bitch
Meeting Dates: 2nd Tuesday of each month
Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Log onto web site and search under events for times and dates.

Other Knit Events are scheduled throughout the month. Check your e-mail for additional dates and knitting together locations. Look for updates throughout the month from this correspondent.






Look at the hand knit socks I got for Christmas!