March - April 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



Spring is almost here!

This is the time we are starting to think about cleaning up and making a fresh start. The same can be said for our knitting guild. It’s time to start thinking about new ways to help each other in our knitting guild. Some may start new charitable projects and some may help by taking on guild board positions. I know it sounds scary but we are all there to help each other. The current board members have taken a turn in giving something back to the group and now it can be your turn too! If you are interested in a position please contact a nominating committee member (which will be announced at the March meeting) and ask what is involved. Remember, the positions are only for one year so give it a try. I know it will be appreciated.

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


Getting to Know



Penny Celmins

Tell me where you grew up and something about your family.
Cleveland, Ohio is my hometown. I have been in Phoenix since 1975 when my husband Lat was transferred by the Greyhound Corporation. I have 3 adult chiuldren who, to my good fortune, all live in the Phoenix area. Jackie was principal at Cherokee school for 2 of them.

Are you currently or have you ever been employed? If so, in what field?
I am happily unemployed. I had three great career experiences. Younger years, I taught elementary school. Middle years, I was a Ceasarian Birth Attendant at John C. Lincoln Hospital. And......my most recent years, I was a Senior Citizen Advocate.....or Manager. I took care of the bureautic problems, financial organization of those needing home service. Then I "followed" them into the Nursing homes, if necessary, to watch over their safe life-care. I still do lots of Income Tax Returns, but I do not consider it a job.

What is your first knitting memory?
I think when I was nine my mother had me knit something for my new baby brother. I knew how to knit, but I cannot remember when I learned. Both my mother and my maternal grandmother were masters at crafts.

Do you have a memorable knitting project?
I have recently found all of my old knitting books from "ever" and I am surprised to see that I had knitted just about everything - everyone I knew as a youth wore my sweaters - especially my boyfriends (when I knitted "twins", which, of course, means I knit many patterns twice.) I am now enjoting the Wallaby.

What do you prefer knitting and who do you knit for?
I mostly knit for charityn never myself anymore. I like projects I can knit as gifts for my family.

What is your favorite pattern?
Not favorite, but I have knit over 150 Teddy Bear outfits and sold them for Project Linus. I bought my teddy bears mostly at Good Will on half price day. I only bought those which were like new, with the tags still on. Judie sold them at the state fair and her husband Steve's office craft shows.

Do you have a favorite "knit - along" pattern for knit-togethers or gatherings?
Generally, I carry around the multi-color afghans - the ones for which you have all donated scraps to me. I made 2 of them during my four month Grand Jury duty, which now has only 3 weeks left!

Do you have a favorite yarn?
I like the Southwest Trading Co's "soy silk"

What is the worst thing you ever knit?
I knit the front of this gorgeous men's sweater - every pattern row was different!! Then when I finished the piece, it was the ugliest thing I ever made, even though it was exactly like the pattern and picture. I tore it out immeidately.

What knit item do you wear the most?
None....I do not knit for myself anymore.

What is your most valuable knitting technique?
" Casting on" with the first row already knitted. ["knitting on "- it is similar to a cable cast on]

What other fiber- related activities do you like to do? (spin,weave, quilt)
I like high fiber cereals.

What is your involvement with knitting? Altruistic, guild and hobby

Have you made lasting friendships because of your knitting?
Of course, every single one of you!

Why do you knit?
Enjoy it.

How long have you been knitting?
Forever.....though I took off time 15 years ago [for 10 years] 'cause my wrists hurt. Then, a doctor prescribed some over-the counter medicine for my arthritic feet, and it cured my wrists!

How do you continue to learn so much about knitting?
I am often "stuck" on the new descriptions of "techniques" because most of the new stuff is "old stuff" which I always did for years anyhow..

How did you find Cactus Needles Knitting Guild?
I saw Project Linus on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I called around to the knitting shops and found one on the westside who knew Fran and Larry. I had to wait 3 months to hear from them because they were on one of their marathon trips. My first "meeting" was a Monday in August, 2002 at Fashion Square. Francine was the only one there and I almost missed her because she was about to leave.

Have you been active in other guilds before joining CNKG?

What type of program could you present to CNKG?
Not much, but I could show how to wrap those non-slip hangers, using left over yarn. It is not knitting, however.

Do you have any sayings or quotes you would like to share?
No one has ever died from dirt!!
95% of the things you worry about never happen and the 5% which do happen, you cannot do anything about anyhow.

Future plans and interests - occupation, travel, hobby, favorite movie, food, books, etc
. I am a real "home-body".

Please add additional information our readers may find interesting.
I love my three dogs - they are all pound puppies. Often, we have 6 dogs in our house, because my kids leave theirs with us.

I have a doll collection, started by my mother - but not as elaborate as Joan';s who makes her own doll clothes. [maybe she will invite me over to see hers!) Many of you have seen mine.





The program for the January meeting was copyright law. Cara introduced our guest speaker, Chris Paine, an attorney with the Mohr Hackett firm. He was born in Tucson, attended U of A and ASU, and has worked with the Senate. The question that comes up with copyright infringement is “What’s the harm?” because it does not involve taking anything tangible. He presented a quiz to accentuate a couple of points:

Whether or not you profit from a copyright violation, it is still an infringement.
Stories, pictures and characters are protected. For example, knitting something with a Snoopy character is technically an infringement.

Copyright is a federal issue and is not governed by state laws.
After 1978, any original work is automatically protected, but the work actually has to be registered before the owner can take legal action. Laws vary for prior time periods.

There is no exception for charitable purposes unless it is a performance and no profit is made. Presently, there is no case law that is for or against copyright violations for charitable purposes. The “First Use Doctrine” states that if you purchase a book, you do not purchase the copyright. It is an infringement to make copies for your personal use unless the material specifically states permission. However, this infringement is unenforceable. The presentation was very informative. It was a great reminder to all of us not only to protect ourselves legally but to do the right thing, which we want to do as a guild.

by Barb Hahn

You can read more about Mr. Payne on his web site.


The knit-in JoAnn Mullen hosted last year at El Torito was such fun that she did it again in January. Was it the attendees that made it such a success? The atmosphere? The margaritas?

June Whisel hosted a very well attended February knit-in at Tempe Yarn and Fiber. Not only were we treated to a very generous array of delicious food, but we had all that luscious yarn to fondle and maybe take home. My appologies for forgetting my camera. :-(



Jackie turned in the most hats in February......JoAnn picked names for prizes......Cara & Penny looked at donated yarn.





What a wild assortment of projects were displayed at the January meeting! Take a took!


June's lacy butterfly shawl - about to fly away?.......Lesley's cupcake hat............Penny's blanket - or sombrero?


Velvet's made her sweater on a knitting machine, then did the trim by hand. Someone made a Santa suit for a new grandchild and Maude made a teddy bear for charity.


Judy's doing a Linus blanket.............."most hats" in January by June................and you get three guesses.


JoAnn displays the quilt stenciled one Saturday by the ladies at Westminster and some CNKG members

February's meeting had us all working on our Wallabies so there weren't as many completed items to show and share.


Lesley's granddaughter's birthday present......Lauren is making a ?.....Francine's baby gift



Joan's hat and mittens - NOT for charity!...............................................Penny's sweater - did it shrink?




June sent this web site to all - it has drwaings on jhow to do ust about everything in knitting.

Also on this web site is a plethera of free knitting patterns including some hats.

If you need help with something, check this web site to see if one of their knitting videos will help. It's all there, right on line for you to follow.
http://www.knittinghelp.com/that the Vs created

I like this web page so much I'm including it here for the second time. It is an easy to calculate pattern for a neck down raglan sweater for any size person with any weight yarn. It is especially useful if you think you might run short of yarn - just finish the sleeves before you finish the body and when you run out of yarn, you are done!

Here is a fabulous "All-Knitted Animated Music Video" which contains over 700 knitted scenes which play like a cartoon. It was made by Tricot Machine, a group from Quebec. We'd all love to have the French lyrics translated, so If anyone can do this, please send them to Jackie to forward to us all.

shared by Cindy Adams




When you have to pick up stitches from the cast on edge of your work, remember to pick up stitches from between the cast on stitches, not in their centers.

An old superstition says that knitting one of your hairs into the garment will forever bind the recipient to you.
[This means some of us will be forever bound to our pussy cats.]

At the beginning of the 20th century, knitters used to protect their most delicate project by making fabric squares (often trimmed with lace) to lay on their laps while they knit. When taking a break or packing it in, they'd simply fold up their knitting in the soft fabric for safe keeping.

Bab's tiny little knitting in the movie Chicken Run was real! It was done on knitting needles made of toothpicks.

The movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) featured 250 hand-knit items, all knit by sweater designer Suss Cousins (yes, her first name IS pronounced just like Seuss.) She and only two other knitters made all the goods, including 8 striped sweaters for Jim Carrey, in only four months. That's 83.3 items per person in just 120 days.

It was first lady Eleanor Roosevelt who reinvigorated knitting-for-the-war efforts during world War II. Mrs. Roosevelkt was a devoted knitter who always had her knitting with her; she was even pictured stitching beside her hubby on a White House Christmas card.

Aran knitting - with all those cables and fancy stitches, didn't become popular until 1956 when Vogue magazine published an Aran pattern. The sweaters are now also made by machine, but when you knit one by hand you wind up with a gorgeous sweater that's worth every bit of the effort it took to make.

When feisty Arachne boasted that she was the better weaver, Athena, Greek goddess of textiles (and other thin gs) was not intimidated. She promptly challenged Arachne to a weaving contest and kicked her butt. Just to add a little oomph to her victory, Athena turned Arachne into a spider, dooming her to a life of endless spinning.

All the above shared by Francine




My thanks to Ann Hood, author of THE KNITTING CIRCLE (Norton, 2007), for presenting us with a well written novel about a knitting group that takes on meaningful life issues and losses in a thoughtful and realistic manner.

Loss is not a stranger to Ann Hood and this is evident in her writing about Mary's struggle after the death of her young daughter. Yes, she reluctantly joins a knitting group, and yes, over time she finds warmth, friendship, support and trust within the group and its varied members. And other group members have their issues as well.

What makes this book stand out is the fine quality of Hood's writing and her understanding of the complexity of Mary's currently sad and barely functional life after Stella dies. Mary's relationship with her mother, her marriage and her career are all treated realistically. While the reader may want to give Mary a kick and throw her back into life, most readers have not walked in Mary's shadow and, like most well-meaning (that dangerous word) friends, only trying to help. Other knitter circle members, who have also experienced deep loss of close ones or loss of faith in someone close, or wider humanity or life, are better able to help each other --if, indeed, trust can develop--because of their empathy and understanding.

THE KNITTING CIRCLE is not a happy book but it is a hopeful book. On the knitting/novel scale it is more novel than knitting. I'd recommend it to non knitters as well as the usual knitters who read such books.

Jo-Ann Mullen






Walter Langley
1852 - 1922

The works of Walter Langley, a Victorian era English painter, are a testimony to Langleys empathy and sympathy for the hardship of ordinary people, particularly the community`s unsung heroes - the women. With a sense of debt to his own mother`s relentless and selfless effort, Langley celebrated these women in his work. A very complete biography with an additional "knitting" painting is here:




On the TV show Ugly Betty, Daniel's middle aged mother, bored with her life, says "There's got to be more out there than knitting and Bingo!" She wants to start a magazine called "Hot Flash". What I don't understand is, how could anyone think there could be anything more fun than knitting?

I think this woman is trying to send a subliminal message for us to clean out our stashes and send the excess to her.

shared by Harriet Trobman

I can't begin to describe this off-the-wall web site. Just hold onto your hat and go to
http://www.stitchymcyarnpants.com/knit06/ and then to

site shared by Francine






Jumpers Keep Chilly Chickens Warm

Brigitte Hawley, from Benenden, in Kent, England, gave four bald birds a new home last November after receiving them from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust. Former battery [commercial] farm chickens, their feathers had been pecked out by other chickens. Now they have been given woolly jumpers to keep warm.

Ms. Hawley designed the knitwear to protect them during the winter as they adapted to life away from the chicken sheds.

"Just to see them around the garden and doing what chickens should do is lovely," said Ms Hawley.

Ms Hawley said her invention, which she calls a "chux tux", had been adapted from a bobble hat, and came in different designs depending on which parts of the bird were in need of insulation.Her bespoke [custom] design was the winning entry in a national knitting competition.

Since their release from captivity, her four battery hens are now showing signs of recovery, thanks to the designer knitwear.

from BBC.com




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.

After two activities, non members are asked to activate their membership by joining CNKG.


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



Additional Information: luvwool at qwest.net


3/3 Monday
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
March concludes the Wallybee tutorial with Regina.

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

3/15 Saturday
Westminster Happy Hookers and CNKG knit for Project Linus
1 - 3 p.m.
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.

3/17 Monday
NIT NITE, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Borders, across from Paradise Valley Mall
4555 E. Cactus Rd (South side of Cactus)

3/22 Saturday
Project Linus Blanket Bee, 9 a.m.. - 4 p.m.
Brown bag lunch.
Coffee, bottled water and sodas provided.

Challenge blankets will be voted on! Quilters: space theme
Crocheters/knitters: use colors blue and red

3/29 Saturday
Cara’s Own Knitting Event- 11a.m.

Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert, AZ
3000 East Ray Road, Building 1
Gilbert, AZ 85296
(480) 563-4745
Joe’s Farm Grill is a Coffee Shop and Farmer’s Market and their menu is fresh and creative. They use all locally grown products.

Your RSVP by March 27th guarantees you a seat.
Call Cara 480-612-2021
E-mail - czents at yahoo.com

3000 East Ray Road, building #1
1. Take 101 south (or I-10 to Tucson)
2. Exit the 202 San Tan Freeway East
3. Exit Higly Road. Turn south (right) on Higly.
4. Your first light is Ray Rd, turn right on Ray.
5. Joe's Farm Grill will be on the right. It is a residential area, so don't get confused! You are in the right spot!

I will be the one with the knitting needles.
I will have my cell phone with me, so if you get lost, call me.


4/7 Monday,
CNKG Monthly Meeting
6:30 pm - 8:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix
4027 Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Program: The Secret World of Yarn Reps
Marilyn Howden, from Universal Yarns, will share stories about being on the road with an unlimited supply of yarn. Find out what it is like to work in the industry from a sales angle.

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

4/12 Saturday
Lesley's Own Knitting Event- 2 p.m.
The Sugar Bowl
4005 N Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ
Tel: (480) 946-0051

Judie's event here was a huge success, but she's going to hold her next one somewhere else. Not to let a good place go to waste (waist?), Lesley will host her knit-in at this old fashioned ice cream parlor made famous by Bil Keane in his "All in the Family" comic strip.

Please RSVP to Lesley by Wednesday, April 9th.
fry202 at cox.net

4/19 Saturday
Westminster Happy Hookers and CNKG knit for Project Linus
1 - 3 p.m.
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.

4/21 Monday
NIT 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 at 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.

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.