Spring 2011


Stitchin’ Times

Spring 2011



     Letter from the President

Some of you may remember the lace blanket that I was working on last year. I tore it apart and put it back together so many times that it bordered on ridiculous. I finally finished it and could not decide what to do with it.

During the process, a friend of mine watched me an commented several times how much she loved it, not only the design, but the color and the feel of it. I decided to give it to her as a holiday gift.

Her eyes welled up with tears, and she almost wouldn’t accept it. Just last week, she brought up to my husband how much she loved it and how happy it made her when I gave it to her.

As members of the Cactus Needles Knitting Guild, we are often causing the same reaction but don’t get to see the tears of joy. When you are asked to participate in an altruistic project, think about this for a moment before you decide you are just to busy to help. 

With senseless shootings in Tucson and natural disasters in Japan, we need all the smiles and joyful tears we can produce. Even if you don’t see them, you can feel them in your heart as you use your talents to create and count your blessings.

Until we knit again,
Barb Hahn
CNKG President

         Knit Reads

        by Jennifer Wujick & Cara Summerfield

We all spend time reading knitting books, especially the ones filled with amazing colors and photographs that show texture and style. But what many people may not know is that there are also a lot of great fiction reads out there that focus on knitters, or the craft. With knitting added to a theme, stories can instantly turn personal, and getting lost in the complexity of the stories becomes easy.

Check out these book recommendations from our own Jennifer Wujick who just finished Barbara Delinsky's "Not My Daughter" which had a strong knitting theme throughout (Barbara is a knitter too). And yes, these are all in her library!

Christie Ridgway - has a series of true chick lit books about knitting - kind of Jackie Collins meets Debbie MacComber.

"Death by Cashmere" - Sally Goldenbaum

Maggie Sefton - a knitter who writes mysteries that take place in Colorado that always involve a knitting store there - she has about 6-7 books out.

Beth Pattillo - The Sweetgum Ladies series

"Knitting Circle" - Ann Hood

"Knitting Under the Influence" - Claire LaZebnik

"Knitting" - Anne Bartlett

"The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club" - Gil MacNeil

And as always, Debbie MacComber and Kate Jacobs.




Stitches West 2011

by Cathrine McClure

What if I told you, that you could spend 3-4 days shopping for yarn, attending classes to learn new knitting techniques, catching glimpses of famous knitterly celebrities, meeting people who love to knit as much as you do, and spending your free time sitting and knitting - in public? Wouldn't you say, Where can I sign up?!

Well, sign up to attend Stitches, one of the most popular knitting related conferences in the USA. Stitches conferences (hosted by Knitting Magazine) are held in the north, south, east, and west, and I was lucky enough to attend Stitches West this past February, along with Judie Agee as my roommate. 

Judie and I signed up online for classes the minute they were available back in October. We took two classes together: Celtic Cables with Melissa Leapman and Design Your Dream Sweater with Leslye Solomon. Separately, I took Fearless Fair Isle with Sandi Rosner and Judie took a design your own shawl class (ask her for details).  Judie and I agreed that we learned something valuable in each class and that they were well worth attending.

 This was our first time attending any type of event like Stitches and we felt our schedule was full, so we opted out of attending the Friday night fashion show or the Saturday night dinner and student fashion show. I think I might do that next time, since Bev Walker (who's been attending Stitches shows for years) had some fun stories to tell on Sunday morning when we ran into her and her daughter at breakfast. It was wonderful to see some familiar faces from Arizona. It turns out that most of the attendees were from California and many were from the surrounding San Francisco area. I really thought more people would have flown in from nearby states.

The weather was rather intense when we arrived in San Jose, California, Friday morning. It was rainy and chilly with a cold wind blowing. We flew in from Phoenix and rented a car so we could drive to the Santa Clara Convention Center. We stayed at the Hilton across the street, which was a very nice hotel. Unfortunately, we were caught in the lousy weather as we walked to the convention center and back. Other than that, we were inside most of the time and by Sunday morning, the weather was actually quite nice.

 We discovered the best time to shop was after classes ended at 4:30 p.m. until the market closed at 6 p.m. This was the advantage of not attending the fashion shows because we shopped while most people were getting ready for the evening events. There was so much to see in the market place. The usual suspects - Red Heart, Lion Brand Yarn, and other big yarn distributors were there with displays and demonstrations. WEBS was a big hit with tons of fantastic yarn at their usual 25% off of your $60 purchase. There was always a long line at this booth!
What I was most excited to see were the individual dyers and their fabulous yarns (and touch!). I took home the most amazing purple sock weight yarn from The Sanguine Gryphon. This company has a Renaissance theme and the booth was as exquisite as the yarns. Another fantastic find was Tess' Designer Yarns. She had cashmere, silk, and wool, in all different blends and in the most beautiful colors.  There were handmade buttons, shawl pins, bumper stickers, patterns, bags...a treasure trove of things we all love and the toughest part was deciding what not to purchase. (When you go, follow Judie's lead and bring an extra suitcase.)
I have been wanting to go to Stitches West for several years, ever since I found out that it existed but the timing wasn't right until now. The weekend was more fun and more wonderful than I expected it to be and I wouldn't hesitate to go again if I get the chance. The only thing that would make it more fun, would be attending with more friends. Stitches West 2012, anyone?
Editor's Note: If interested you can get more information, or register here, at Knitting Universe





The Washington Post published a great article about combat knitters- knitters in our armed forces. It looks at how knitting brings together Americans in all parts of the world by using even the most frightening of knitting concepts, gauge. Check out the article here:  Kandahar's Combat Knitters use yarn and needles as weapons of self-preservation.


If you didn't see this article in the Arizona Republic last week, then you missed another great look at the healing and bonding powers of knitting. Read the article here: Healing, Stitch by Stitch.


The internet is a big place, with many components. There is a lot of information out there, and often times people don't know what is real, or how to find what they are looking for.  How do you sift through all of these sites, or where do you begin? The world of what to read can be overwhelming.

Enter blogs.  Blogs area type of on-line diary where people from all over the world can record all sorts of things. The great thing about blogging is that anything goes. One can write about what they do each day. Or about what they want to do each day. Many sites are dedicated to what inspires them, from stories to images. And some use their own site just for bragging rights. Many people have turned their blogs into book deals and even movies.  As a reader, blogs give us a glimpse into someone else's world without them seeing our reactions. We can be voyers into strangers lives, or catch up on friends and families' lives. And as a knitter, they are a great way to get ideas and patterns from everyday crafters.

There are a ton of knitting knitting themed sites out there. Many of you have visited the Tempe Yarn & Fiber blog. Even our local Project Linus recently got in on the blogosphere.  Many of us have read and been a fan of the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie McPhee. Did you know she also has a blog? You don't have to just buy her books to get in on her fiber wisdom, you could check in each day and see what she is up to on her blog. Many sites like Purl Soho, a shop in NYC, use their sites for business as well as a creative outlet to inspire their customers.

Are you ready to record your everyday activities for all the world to see? Maybe not. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy seeing what else is going on in the world of knit and purl. Be careful though, there are often links to other sites that are equally as intriguing.  You could get lost on the web, which could take away from precious knitting time.  Some popular sitesto get you started (in addition to the links to TYF, Purl Soho, Yarn Harlot and PL above):

Crazy Knitting Lady

Chic Knits

Tenten Knits

Fell in Love with a Purl

Jesh Knits

Mason-Dixon Knitting

 Inspiration Station

Spring is in the air. What will you knit as the winter weather disappears, and the days begin to heat up. Here is some inspiration: