May - June 2006



1. Comments From Our President
2. Who’s Who at CNKG
3. News Tidbits
4. Show and Tell
5. Knitting on the Web
6. Knitting Hints and Trivia
7. The Book Nook
8 Just For Fun
9. Knitting For Others
10. Calendar of Events



Dear Fellow CNKG Members and Friends:

When Lesley reminded me that the President's Report was due, I was caught off guard. The seasons are flying!

After several techniques meetings, we slowed the pace in March to knit altruistically and catch our collective breath. Thank you to Polly Schmidt, our Westminster Village friend, for bringing her unique vintage knitted outfits for a very special Show & Share.

Last month we knitted with fabric. We learned about preparing the "yarn", how to connect it, and the kinds of projects that lend themselves to fabric knitting. Jo-Ann Mullen's past life as a teacher was apparent as she guided us with samples, handouts, and hands-on practice. Monday night, May 1st, Marsha French will share techniques for weaving ends and joining colors. We are fortunate to have such dedicated winter visitors. Both Jo-Ann and Marsha have been generous with their time and it is greatly appreciated.

Thanks also to Regina Esposito, Judy Santini, and Jackie Taylor for serving as this year's Nominating Committee. I feel honored to have been asked to serve as President again.

We had a smashing success with our trip to Mesa. The Happy Hookers signed up quickly, the bus was oversubscribed, lunch was delicious, and of course the Fiber Factory was loaded with yarn, books, patterns, and gadgets. Our dear members Bev Walker and Jackie Taylor were instrumental in planning and executing this event.

CNKG is up and running all summer! Come to a meeting, attend or organize a knit together, earmark a Blanket Bee - as I say all the time, our guild has something for everyone.

Happy Knitting,






An Interview with Cathrine A. McClure

After finding our guild on the TKGA web site, Cathrine realized that we were the same guild Judie Agee had been inviting her to visit. We are always excited to find new knitters interested in our guild and as one of our newer members, Cathrine's interview will not disappoint you.

Tell us where you grew up and something about your family.
I am from Huntington Beach in Orange County, CA. Most of my cousins still live in Southern California. I visit my mom and sister in Anaheim Hills at least once a year.

If you work, where do you work and what is your occupation?
I am going to school part-time at Phoenix College to earn my certificate in Legal Assisting. I am also "Mom" to Ridley, 11 and Ian, 9 1/2. My husband, Ed, is Creative Director at Park & Co., an advertising agency.

What brought you to Arizona?
I moved to Phoenix in 1987 to buy my first home.

What is your first knitting memory?
I remember my maternal grandmother knitting sometimes but she never taught me how.

Who taught you to knit and how old were you?
I learned to crochet when I was about 14 and taught myself to knit from a book when I was about 19.

As a new knitter, what was your first knitting experience?
I have always been good at handcrafts and started off making sweaters. I've always had good experiences with my knitting projects and enjoy the challenge of using a pattern and making something to wear.

What do you prefer knitting and who do you knit for?
I enjoy knitting for my boys and my husband. I have made them each a sweater, a vest for my husband, and am currently working on a vest for my oldest son. My main frustration is that it's usually too warm in Phoenix to wear sweaters and scarves!

What is your favorite pattern?
I prefer mindless knitting since I usually do it while watching TV or waiting. Once in a while it's nice to have the challenge of something more difficult, but knitting is my "escape" so the motion of my hands working is what I crave.

Do you have a favorite knitting book or magazine?
I prefer Interweave Knits magazine.

What type of needles do you prefer?
I do love my Denise Interchangeable needles. They are the right weight and have a smooth feel.

What fibers do you absolutely not like?
I don't like knitting with Red Heart because the yarn feels so scratchy. I do use it for crocheting Project Linus blankets, because it's washable. I love Plymouth, Jo Sharp, and Debbie Bliss wools or blends.

What other fiber related activities do you like to do?
I crochet, quilt, cross-stitch, filet crochet, embroider, and sew.

What is your involvement with knitting?
I am planning to do some teaching of young people next year and would like to begin the Master Knitting program through TKGA this summer.

Have you made lasting friendships because of your knitting?
The only people I know who knit are the people I've met through this guild. All my life, people have commented when they see me knitting or crocheting, "My grandmother does that." I hope to make some knitting friends.

Why do you knit?
I love the way the needles feel in my hands and I love creating something. I love to make things for others and enjoy giving handmade gifts.

How long have you been knitting?
About 5 years, I guess. I recently took up knitting again after years of crochet only.

How do you continue to learn so much about knitting?
I read a lot. I read knitting magazines and books.

Have you been active in other guilds before joining CNKG?
I was involved with the Arizona Quilters Guild for a few years and produced their newsletter for a year or so.

Do you have ideas for future programs for CNKG?
I enjoy learning new techniques and having people share their tips.

What type of program could you present to CNKG?
I could teach some basic crochet.

Do you have any sayings or quotes you would like to share?
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning. --- Catherine Aird

Please add additional information we may find interesting.
I love reading and read quite a lot of fiction and nonfiction, which includes religious studies, history, and law. I make lots of blankets for Project Linus because I like knowing my blankets are going to boys and girls who will love and appreciate them. I also love movies and dark chocolate.

WOW! - - fiction? nonfiction? blankets for Project Linus? movies? DARK CHOCOLATE? With all these attributes, we know Cathrine will become an integral part of Cactus Needles Knitting Guild. Welcome Cathrine McClure!




New officers were elected at the last meeting and will be installed at the July meeting. Congratulations go to:

President - Francine Ebersman
Vice President & Program Chairman - Maggie Kiehl and Marsha French
Secretary - Mary Schirtzinger
Treasurer - Judy Santini

and committee chairmen:
Membership - Jackie Taylor
Altruistic - Cathrine McClue and Jo-Ann Mullen
Newsletter - Lesley Fry

If some of these people sound familiar, that's because they did such a great job last year that we voted unanimously to keep them in office another year!



Back in February, Francine held a knit-in at her lovely home and Jackie took this snapshot for us.


At our March meeting we had a special guest from Westminster Village. Polly Schmidt brought a box of knitted suits and sweaters made by her mother many, many years ago. The quality of the work was outstanding and we were all surprised that most of the items were classics which could be worn today.


We had a very interesting lesson at the April Meeting. Jo-Ann Mullen taught us all the ins and outs of knitting with strips of fabric. I know some members have already started experimenting with this intriguing method and we can't wait to see the results.


A LOT of people came to the last meeting of the Happy Hookers at Westminster Village including some who want to lean how to knit. Here are just a few of the attendees.



In case you missed the two big yarn sales in April which Jackie told us about by e-mail, there will be another at the Fiber Factory, 150 W. Main St., Mesa. They are holding a Pre-Inventory Blow-Out Sale from Tuesday, June 27th through Saturday, July 1st and all in-stock merchandise will be 25% off. Don't forget, they carry Plymouth Encore yarn! And if you buy something, REMEMBER TO TELL THEM YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE CACTUS NEEDLES KNITTING GUILD. We receive a gift certificate from them every year based upon how much our members spend in their store!





My FINISHED Wallaby and matching baby blanket for you to see. I mailed it off to my new grandnephew who was born a month ago in Maryland. I found the little stuffed wallaby (actually a kangaroo but who cares?) for $1 at Target. He fits just perfectly inside of the little pouch in front. I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

shared by Judie Agee




Not that Marsha French's class at at the May meeting won't cover everything about weaving in ends of yarn, but this web site might help those of you who don't pay attention! It has photos to remind you just HOW to weave in those loose ends so they won’t show on the right side of your work.

Plan ahead! This page lists all (most?) of the fiber festivals being held this year. A great way to use up some frequent flyer miles, gat away from it all and learn something useful at the same time.

More free patterns including some that are actually beautiful.

And still more free patterns.

shared by Harriet Trobman

MORE free patterns from our friend in Tacoma.

shared by Harriet Trobman

Here's a great site which almost defies description. It has all SORTS of things including patterns.

shared by Maggie Keihl

A Japanese site with English translations, some a bit off kilter, of all kinds of stuff. Worth a look as the Japanese patterns are usually very different and beautiful.. And I love the animated “new” icon!

And this Japanese site has photos of common stitches and their Japanese names which is useful if you have a pattern book from Japan.

All about wool - fiber, fabrics, yarn and their care.

And here’s one with all those little cleaning symbols and what they mean.

Needlecraft University has on-line lessons (for a fee) but what I like is their library, a good resource for a lot of knitting, crocheting and ribbon embroidery information

Lots of free patterns here.
http://www.straw.com/cpy/free_patterns.html http://www.straw.com/cpy/free_patterns.html

Thousands (?) of free patterns on this web site. Why haven't we seen this before? http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/kategori_oversikt.php

Here is a list of handknitting magazines and newsletters that appear in English. A few are online, and some of the print magazines occasionally offer articles and patterns online. Most of the magazines are devoted to knitting; a few others are here because they contain enough knitting for me to think them worth including. If anyone knows of handknitting magazines or newsletters not in the following list or of any discontinuations or errors, please email Jo-Anne privately. Enjoy!

shared by Jo-Anne

The AntiCraft (online)
Cast-On (The Knitting Guild Association--formerly The Knitting Guild of America)
Creative Knitting (formerly Knitting Digest)
Creative Knitting (Australian publication)
Family Circle Easy Knitting
INKnitters (hand and machine knitting)
Interweave Knits
Knit.1 (publication of Lion Brand Yarns and Vogue Knitting)
Knit It! (annual publication of Lion Brand Yarns)
Knit 'n Style
KnitNet (online, 6 issues a year, charges for subscription but has some free patterns)
Knitscene (special issue by Interweave Press)
KnitSimple (new magazine from Vogue, I've been told) no website
Knitter's Review (online, weekly)
Knitting (U.K. publication)
Knitting Now
Knitty (online, quarterly)
MagKnits (online, possibly monthly)
Men Knit (online, only one issue so far)
Rowan Knitting Magazine
Sandra Baby (an annual for children thru age 2)
Sandra Children (an annual for age 2-11)
Simply Knitting (U.K. publication) no website but can be emailed: simplyknitting@futurenet.co.uk
Southern Cross Knitting (online Australia/New Zealand publication)
Spin-Off (spinning magazine with knitting patterns)
Spun (online)
Stranded (colorwork knitting, stranded and Fair-Isle-type)
Twists and Turns (cable knitting--Janet Szabo)
Ultimate Knitting (hand and machine knitting)
Vogue Knitting
Yarn Magazine (Australian publication)
Wool Gathering (Schoolhouse Press--Meg Swansen)




Before the Industrial Revolution, when it was a woman's job to make all the knitted items for her family, she carried her knitting around with her everywhere and worked on it whenever possible. There were ladies who sat up in the galleries of the National Assembly and knitted, while the men debated laws below. They were called "tricoteuses" (knitting women), and they often called down their ideas to the men. The Industrial Revolution pretty much put an end to the cottage knitting industry.

If you have enough leftover yarn after knitting socks, make a pair of I-cord shoe laces to match! Quite dazzling!

This idea came from The Carol Duvall Show on HGTV:
There were several terrific tips from our viewers in the shoebox today starting with one from Maxine Shorter of Coldwater, Mich. Maxine is a knitter and has discovered that empty Kleenex tissue boxes (the square ones) make great yarn holders. Simply open the side, insert the ball of yarn, tape the side closed and pull the end of the yarn out of the top of the box. Since the tissue companies spend so much money to print pretty designs on the boxes they are reasonably presentable looking.

shared by Harriet Trobman

Sometimes it is difficult to take your own measurements, so take the measurements from another garment you own that fits the way you want the new one fit. This will take the guesswork out of how much ease and where to allow it. Remember though, to take the type of yarns into consideration - you would not want a sweater made of alpaca DK weight yarn to fit the same as one made from bulky wool.

If you have a lot of frogging to do, here’s an easy way to prevent dropped stitches when you reach the desired row. First, identifiy the row of knit stitches where you want the unraveling to stop. Working from right to left, insert a smaller size needle into the right hand loop of each stitch in the row, then up andover the left hand loop. Do this across the entire row or round. For a lot of stitches, thread an embroidery needle with ribbon or string and use that. After you finish frogging, all of the stitches will perfectly placed on (or ready to be transfered to) the needle




"Anna Makarovna has finished her stocking," said Countess Marya... They meant two stockings, which, by a secret known only to her, Anna Makarovna used to knit on her needles simultaneously. When the pair was finished, she always made a solemn ceremony of pulling one stocking out of the other in the presence of the children."

War and Peace, 1869, Leo Tolstoy

If you now are curious about this Russian method of knitting one sock inside another, here are the directions from Needlecraft published in 1918 . http://www.twocatsandagirl.com/archives/000792.html

The Knitting Experience - Book 3: Color
By Sally Melvill
List price $24.95

By the author of "The Knit Stitch" and "The Purl Stitch", this primer on knitting describes simple approaches to choosing, using, and wearing color. Knitters move from being intimidated by the choices to being excited by the possibilities as the skill-building chapters put color into practice. Clear, step-by-step photographs lead knitters through a progression of new methods punctuated by fabulous and fun projects to knit. The 36 designs range from simple to classic to unexpected and are presented multiple times showcasing different techniques, mixing and matching to yield more than 80 total projects. With advice, tips, and techniques, this tutorial inspires learners to take their craft to the next level.

Handknits for Kids. by Lucinda Guy
Illustrated by Francois Hall
List Price $23

Imagine being transported into your favorite childhood Amelia Bedelia book, but in which all the children are wearing spunky handknits. That's precisely what this book does, both literally and figuratively.Instead of depicting the garments photographically on human models, the designer set them on cartoonlike forms against a drawn background. As a result, you don't quite know where reality ends and fantasy begins.The patterns are divided into the four seasons. Each features a boy's and girl's sweater, plus a stuffed animal, a blanket, and some sort of accessory—hat, scarf, socks, etc. As for the stuffed animals. instead of your standard teddy bear, Guy gives you modern-styled mice, dogs, cats, and birds. And in each pattern, all the tidbits that make up the stuffed animal are laid out in a photograph so you know what each piece is supposed to look like and how they fit together. It's a very nice extra.




Top Ten Reason to Buy Yarn.

Doesn't have to be watered, fed, repotted or pruned.

Doesn't have a shelf date.

Doesn't need to be walked, groomed or fed. And it doesn't shed. Usually.

Doesn't need a sitter when you go out. Or someone to watch it while you're on vacation.

Doesn't need its litter box changed.

Doesn't raise your blood pressure. Or your bad cholesterol.

Never talks back or asks to use the car and then returns it with the tank on empty or borrows your handpainted yarn socks and washes them in the machine on hot.

Makes a great interior design color splash even if you never use it.

Never changes the channel to a sports program.

And number one: isn't fattening.



We are but 8 score young blondes and brunettes... all between 16 and 19-and-a-half... cut off in this castle with no one to protect us! Oh... it is a lonely life. Bathing... dressing... undressing... knitting exciting underwear ....

from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Tale of Sir Galahad

So, here is that knittable exciting underwear, and, for those of you who missed the March meeting, this web page has the hysterical article that was read to us by Regina and which had us all in stitches!http://www.knit-on.com/html/news.html


Ugly Ball of Yarn

I am a ball of yarn. I live in my owners stash, in a big plastic quilt bag, with many other balls of yarn. I've been here for 10 years and I forget how many years I was in my last owners stash. You see, I'm not a pretty ball of yarn. I'm an old sport weight yarn in a ugly brown color. I'm not soft like the new yarns are, and my owner can't think of anything to use me for. Several times she has picked me up and talked about throwing me away. So I decided to hide, and slid down to the bottom of the bag, just hoping that some day she would find a use for me. My life was sad.

Then yesterday, my owner dug into the bag and grabbed me. Oh no, I thought, here I go to the landfill. But wait, she has a crochet hook in her other hand. She took me into her bedroom, and sat down with me in the chair where she does her crafting. There was other yarn there, too, a soft multicolor eyelash yarn that matches me nicely. She started holding both of us together and crocheting. She kept working And soon she is smiling at me! I was so excited. She told me that I'm going to become a teddy bear, using a pattern that was posted here several days ago. The eyelash yarn, although rather snobby, is nice and soft and together we make a beautiful teddy bear. Best of all, my owner says that there is enough of both of us to make two teddy bears. I can't wait until my owner finishes me and I go to a new home. It will be wonderful to be hugged and loved by a child somewhere who maybe doesn't have anything to hug and love. Life is good. My owner says that every yarn has a purpose and I know that she is right.


Kathy S (Proud owner of that ugly ball of yarn)





Project Linus Report

As you may already know, I have the pleasure of delivering blankets to Maricopa Medical Center. My normal procedure is to take the blankets to the playroom then the Child Life Specialist and her helpers pick out blankets for the kids.

Today there was a very thin boy about 10 or 11 years old in the playroom. His head was so wrapped in gauze that all I could see of his face was one eye and his mouth. He was full of energy, busy shooting hoops with a Nerf ball. One of the volunteers asked if I had brought any blankets with sports themes since this boy loved sports and had not yet received a blanket. I was busy looking through the large-sized blankets when he spied a particular blanket. This blanket was one that Penny Celmins made. It was very bright and colorful, knitted with odds and ends of leftover yarn so every row was a different color. That was the blanket he most wanted.

The boy gathered up his blanket treasure, wrapped it around himself and swayed gently back and forth. He said, "This is going to keep me nice and warm tonight." Shortly afterward it was time to close the playroom for lunch so the boy had to go back to his room two floors below. The volunteer told me that he had come from the Burn Unit. As she escorted him to the elevator to go with him back to his floor, I heard him say, "Wait 'til my mom sees this!" He was SO proud of his blanket and so happy with it. As I made my way toward the stairs I turned around to see him get on the elevator with the blanket still wrapped around his shoulders.

Judie Agee
Project Linus, Phoenix/East Valley AZ Chapter




Mother Bear Project

The Mother Bear Project is a grass-roots, non-profit group dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit bears

The simple gift of a hand-knit bear with a tag signed by the knitter has touched children who have nearly nothing in the world with the message that they are loved by someone halfway around the world.

To date, 7555 bears have been sent to South Africa, Zambia and other countries as Mother Bear Project finds out about more children in need.

They need your help to continue this effort. Please contact them if you are interested in getting a pattern to knit a bear, donate materials (yarn, #7 knitting needles) or money to help pay for shipping expenses and senior outreach (all donations are tax deductible and 100% go to the project). The Mother Bear Project is a non-profit organization operated entirely by volunteers.

Find out more on their web site at www.motherbearproject.org




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.



Monday, Cactus Needles Knitting Guild Monthly Meeting
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix
4027 Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Program: Presented by Marsha French
Bring knitting items in progress and learn
how to knit in loose ends!

Dinner for Hungry Knitters - 5 PM
at la Madeleine near 32nd Street on Camelback.

Tuesday, Knit Together Needlers' Nest
5:30-8:30 pm
12133 W. Bell Rd # 102
Surprise, AZ 85374
phone # 623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl.

Monday, Knitters Knit Night, Fashion Square Food Court
5:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Center area of Food Court near la Madeleine
Check with Jackie.

Tuesday Knit Together, Needlers' Nest
5:30-8:30 pm
12133 W Bell Rd # 102
Surprise, Az 85374
phone # 623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl.

1-3 p.m.
Westminster Village
12000 North 90th Street (101 and Cactus in Scottsdale)
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Lunch for Hungry Knitters - Mimi's on Shea
11:30 AM
RSVP Jackie by the day before.

Monday, Knit Together, Mountainview Coffee Company
6:00 P.M.
Albertson's Shopping Center
43rd Ave and Bell
Check with Regina Esposito

Tuesday, Knit Together, Needlers' Nest
5:30-8:30 pm
12133 W Bell Rd # 102
Surprise, Az 85374
phone # 623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl.


Monday, Cactus Needles Knitting Guild Monthly Meeting
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix
4027 Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Dinner for Hungry Knitters - 5 PM
at la Madeleine near 32nd Street on Camelback

Tuesday, Knit Together, Needlers' Nest
5:30-8:30 PM
12133 W. Bell Rd # 102
Surprise, AZ 85374
phone # 623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl.

1-3 PM
Westminster Village
12000 North 90th Street (101 and Cactus in Scottsdale)
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Lunch for Hungry Knitters - Mimi's on Shea
11:30 AM
RSVP Jackie by the day before.

Monday, Knitters Knit Night, Fashion Square Food Court
5:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Center area of Food Court near la Madeleine
Check with Jackie.

Monday, Knit Together, Mountainview Coffee Company
6:00 P.M.
Albertson's Shopping Center
43rd Ave and Bell Rd.
Check with Regina Esposito.

Tuesday, Knit Together, Needlers' Nest
5:30-8:30 P.M.
12133 W Bell Rd # 102
Surprise, Az 85374
phone # 623 583 4411
Check with Maggie Kiehl.


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

Meetup Knitting Group
Meeting Dates : 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month Time: 2:00 P.M.
Location: Borders Books, Tempe, 699 S. Mill Avenue
Park below in parking garage.
Free parking on Sunday.
Knitting group meets near Cafe Espresso in store.
Knitters of all persuasions and skill levels. Get together to gap, compare projects and swap patterns.

Stitch n' Bitch
Meeting Dates: vary month to month
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 P.M.
Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe
Log onto web site and search under events for times and dates.
Changing Hands Bookstore
or write to stitch-n-bitch-az@cox.net

Submitted by Jackie Taylor



Knitting keeps you regular - with fiber!