About Three Crazy Knitters

Three crazy knitters in Wakefield, QC

Wakefield Knitting Retreat 2014 September 26-28

Well this is a little unusual for us, a fall edition of the Wakefield Knitting Retreat! Our usual spot in May was booked so we opted for late September, one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Gatineau Hills. The retreat will once again be held at the Barn, surrounded by fields, woods and gorgeous vistas. If you want to see pictures of the lovely old place, have a look at their web site: the-barn.ca

The BarnWe are starting the registration process so if you would like to join us this year for a weekend in the country, here is some information:

The cost will remain the same as previous years, $300, which will include three workshops, all meals and snacks and two nights accommodation in a dormitory type setting.Dinnerdining room
Here is what we have planned for this year:
Saturday (Julie): Buttonholes, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

We will look at different types of button bands, ribbed, garter, seed stitch, knit at the same time as the sweater, picking up stitches etc. and the pros and cons of each. There will be lots of examples and a little bit of homework before you come. If there is time during the workshop, we will also look at buttonholes. If not, there will be handouts and time later in the weekend for those who are interested.
Sunday (Julie): Cabling Without a Cable Needle
Cabling without a cable needle is not magic.  You will learn to become a speedy cable knitter. There may be some pinching involved, but only of your stitches, not body parts.

Saturday (Kathryn): Yarn Dyeing
In this workshop you will learn how to create fabulous painted yarn with professional acid dyes. The colours you can achieve are brilliant and endless! Acid dyes use citric acid, which is a food safe acid. You will learn to paint self-striping multi-coloured yarn, and kettle dye using common kitchen tools, like a crock-pot.DSC_0250 DSC_0202 03a

As well as the workshops, there will be lots of time for knitting, relaxing and informal sharing of knowledge and experience as well as time to enjoy the natural beauty around the Barn.

If you would like to join us this year, please email us (threecrazyknitters@gmail.com) to let us know, then send us a cheque for $100 for a deposit and a post dated cheque for the balance ($200) and we’ll reserve you a spot. The maximum number of participants is 15.   Please make  the cheques out to JULIE NANDORFY and mail them to Maureen Marcotte at 26 Sully Rd. Wakefield Qc J0X 3G0. We really hope to meet old friends and to make new ones!



It has been a whirlwind 3 weeks (for me, Julie, at least). So  I will go backwards in time…


We just had our little retreat in Wakefield (first weekend in May). It was a blast. There were 16 of us, 12 participants and 4 worker bees. We hold it at “The Barn”, which used to be somebody’s very funky home but is now rented out for events of all kinds:

8716049688_aeef5e0a18 (2)

8714931231_cd6afeae2d_z (2)You can see why it is called the Barn. Despite a bad cold, Maureen cooked up a storm, with help from her daughter (and Kathryn). Although I’m not sure that we had enough food, I mean sometimes an entire half hour went by when we didn’t have something to eat.

8716056788_3ca5576111_z (2)Although it was a beautiful sunny weekend we spent a lot of it inside knitting… A few keeners, concentrating hard…

2013_05050030There was lots of sharing, and all I can say is thank god for iPads and free wifi! I might have to get one…. When we weren’t knitting, we were scrolling.

2013_05050031There was also some relaxation and lots of laughs. Although as you can see, some people can NEVER put down their knitting needles.

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I gave a class on two-handed stranded knitting and another on yarn substitution, Kathryn gave a dyeing class. Here is some yarn steaming and simmering on the stove (conveniently located outside).

8714946167_98c5c47347_z (2)And drying on the line, yarn couldn’t have a prettier place to hang out and dry.

8716063654_f7c2398fc3_c (2)There were also oodles of Kathryn’s yarns for purchase:

8716061996_5003525f2c_z (2)Because every knitter knows, you CAN’T have too much yarn, despite what other people might say (who know NOTHING, by the way).

On our final day we took a group shot, unfortunately two of our participants had already left, but they have their yarn and memories…

8716052482_2e313feb93_b (2)We think everyone had a good time (at least they tell us they did) and that some new things were learned and shared, including lots of food and probably a few extra pounds (if I could share those, I would!)

And one of our participants, Josée, sent me this picture just after the retreat, well on her way knitting her stranded mittens!

mitaines norvégiennes 2 (2)

Before the retreat, I went to visit my daughter and grandson in Cape Cod. First time I met the little guy (who was 2.5 months when I arrived and 3 when I left). I came prepared with all kinds of knits (which will surely humiliate him later in life). Every baby needs an octopus hat.

1Mother and son in knits, knit by me. I know, I know, it’s not always about ME (knitting) but actually this blog sort of is. Note the Peter Rabbit buttons…

3He is a very happy baby:

2013_04290026And we managed to spend a bit of time at the ocean, windy but nice. The baby just slept through it all, he’ll have years and years of ocean fun ahead of him (with more crazy sea creature hats, I’m sure).

IMG_0745 (2)And despite some worrying and a desperate search for lower-back painkillers, it turns out that walking a lot and carrying a 12 lb baby around for 2 weeks actually does wonders for the back. For mine at least. Maybe when I go back to my cubicle-rat job, I should periodically rock a 12 lb bag of flour at my desk. If nothing else, maybe I can get myself forced out for mental health issues? I’ll have to dress it in an octopus hat…

I even managed to pump out a Cape Cod sweater (a tradition I seem to have started with myself). I didn’t think I’d have time, but I knit this up in one weekend. Norah Gaughan’s Route 1, knit in Berroco’s Remix. It took less than 4 balls!

1 (2)Just before I left for Cape Cod, this was the weather here:


But while I was gone, my little Magnolia tree actually blossomed! I received this last year from my son for my birthday and I didn’t kill it!

2013_05070019And a moment of magnolia zen for Frankie:

2013_05060010Which lasted until he noticed this visitor, up a tree:

pA chubby porcupine! I love porcupines, they are like Dr. Seuss characters come alive. Frankie has yet to be quilled and he couldn’t get near this guy (yay fence!) but I think he would learn his lesson if he ever did (he would just want to play, no aggression in this guy).

I’ll leave you with some human cuteness this time:

photo (31)Might Finn be thinking: “where’s my Canadian Grandma??” But more than likely he’s working on a fart (a few which, by the way, I have on video) – kids these days have no idea of their future torment with every burp, fart and sneeze digitally captured.

Wakefield Knitting Retreat 2013

The days are getting longer, the sun is stronger and it’s time to think spring! That means, time to plan this year’s knitting retreat at the Barn near Wakefield.

The Barn in early spring

The Barn in early spring

Julie and Kathryn have some exciting workshops planned and I’m already testing out some new recipes so it should be a great weekend!

The dates this year will be May 3-5 and the price will be the same as last year ($300 for all classes, meals and two nights accommodation). We wanted to let you know what Kathryn and Julie have planned for the workshops:

Julie will present an introduction to stranded knitting  i.e. two-colour knitting with short changes between colours whereby you carry the unused colour (float) behind the one you are knitting with:

We will focus on knitting a swatch in the round (without really knitting in the round), colour dominance and managing floats.  If you are really keen, I suggest practicing knitting (before the retreat) in the style you do NOT currently use (if you knit English, practice Continental, and vice versa) if you would like to practice two-handed knitting (only the knit stitch, there won’t be any purling), otherwise you can alternate your colours from the same hand.

Julie’s second workshop will be on yarn substitution:

We will examine how to substitute yarn for a given pattern, including possibilities for using different fibres and touching on using yarn with a different gauge. There will be a very detailed handout and lots of props as examples. If you have any questions regarding a specific project you would like to tackle, bring them along.

Knitting workshop

Knitting workshop

And once again, Kathryn will lead a workshop on dyeing yarn with professional acid dyes:

In this workshop you will learn how to create fabulous painted yarn with professional acid dyes. The colours you can achieve are brilliant and endless! Acid dyes use citric acid, which is a food safe acid. You will learn to paint self-striping multicoloured yarn, and kettle dye using common kitchen tools, like a crock-pot. We will dye 2 skeins of yarn with the idea that they will be used for colour work.

Kathryn's dyeing workshop

Kathryn’s dyeing workshop

dyeing outdoors

dyeing outdoors


The Barn accommodates only 12 participants in dormitory-style rooms so if you are interested in coming this year, please let us know as soon as possible by emailing threecrazyknitters@gmail.com or calling Maureen at 819 459-3164. We’ll then ask for a $100 deposit to confirm your spot.

Here are a few more photos from last year to give you an idea of what’s in store: great classes, lovely people, lots of time to relax and delicious food! Spring can’t come soon enough.

The kitchen crew

The kitchen crew

small 101

Early evening visitors

Early evening visitors

Planes, trains and really cheap buses…

We have all been busy this month, Maureen is getting ready for a pottery show in Ottawa, 260 Fingers, I think November 12,13 and 14 (their website hasn’t been updated yet), Kathryn is working away for a Wakefield craft fair at Vorlage on 2, 3 and 4 November, in addition to other upcoming fairs in the run-up to Christmas (did I just say Christmas??? AAAHHH).  I, however, have been travelling. Not to super exotic places, but to Guelph (train) to visit family, and then to Cape Cod (plane and super cheap bus – $45 return from Boston to Hyannis!) to visit my daughter and in-laws and go to her baby (boy) shower.

Before I launch into knitting and baby showers and beaches, I would just like to comment on the many fashionistas I saw on my travels. Mostly guys in skinny jeans where the crotch still manages to hang low (and who I just know read this blog, ha!). I know you think you look cool. But what you actually look like is an overgrown toddler who just left a load in his pants, with his plaid underwear showing while still managing to expose the crack of his ass. Is that supposed to be sexy?? I cringe at photos of myself from the 80’s, big purple hair and eyeliner, but you, my friend, will cringe like no other when you look back on your backside. I will be laughing last, unless I give you a wedgie first.

Back to business… Cape Cod was fantastic, beautiful warm weather. We went to Nantucket where we toured the whaling museum. Pretty depressing but very interesting.

Here is the skeleton of a sperm whale:

Oil from its head (this is from one that washed ashore in 1998). The oil is called spermaceti. Go ahead have fun with it, you know you want to, maybe write a limerick:

There was a section displaying items made from whale bone, like this swift, lots and lots of swifts:

(I have no idea what that jaunty leg carving is for behind the swift). One of the best parts of going to Nantucket was this:

Yes! “Knitted” patent leather Dansko’s!!! How cool is that??? And kind of crazy… That was the quickest purchase I ever made.

And this is my current favorite mug from the whaling museum:

There was a baby shower for my daughter, the theme was classic Winnie the Pooh. Her mother-in-law and friends went all out, beautiful baked goods and even a pinata for the kids made to look like a beehive.

I brought some knitted things, again fabulously craptastic pictures. A little sweater that I made up, Small Things romper, and a sleep sack (or as my sister calls it, a fart sack) from 60 More Quick Baby Knits (all knit in Knitpicks washable/dryable yarn):

I also gave my daughter this:

She wasn’t sure what to make of it. I think it’s really cute and funny, but I guess it could be viewed as a bit creepy? Do you see something wrong with a mounted bunny head on the wall of the baby’s room? I got it at the Twist Fibre Festival but the makers have an etsy shop here, if you lean towards my sense of humour…

And lastly, my favourite roadside sign in Cape Cod:

Kinnearing the Yarn Harlot (if you don’t understand this maybe you shouldn’t be reading this blog)

Kathryn already posted about the recent Twist Fibre Festival in Saint Andre Avellin, but I (anikoknitter) have a few things to add. Yes, the Yarn Harlot (who does have a name, but you know who we are talking about) came to Kathryn’s booth! And bought yarn! And we forgot to take a picture! Because we are uber-Canadian! Or maybe just morons! (no insult intended to my partners in crime). It IS possible to get a picture with Stephanie, she is very nice, and I know someone who has a picture, with the Yarn Harlot; Natalie must have asked. Luckily, Francine kinneared her! Thanks Francine!

Here we are guffawing because she is very funny:

And here we are talking serious sh*t about yarn and colour:

It was a great festival, right up to the last 10 seconds before I backed into a huge metal skateboarding ramp. I’ve already planned where I will park next year and maybe tie pillows to the back hatch…

Truth be told, we hardly took any pictures. I don’t know why. I believe we all had cameras. I would be a very bad photo-journalist. We met very nice people, you’ll just have to believe me on that because we don’t have any pictures. I do have pictures of yarn; they don’t move on you, they are now in my house (probably reproducing with the rest of my yarn as I write this, so that I will have even less room in the guest-room-that-has-become-a-yarn-room).

I too bought recycled silk from Farmable Fibres

And shetland lace and beautiful shetland/BFL roving (I think?) from Hopeful Shetlands

and ceramic buttons, which I forgot to photograph, even though they are in my house and probably reproducing with the rest of my buttons so that they can have a room of their own. Also, people seemed to really like my noro lace top, so I will write up the pattern but with Kathryn’s lace singles, which is a super bonus for Kathryn because she gets a lace top out of it.

In the meantime, I’m busy with other things, things that have moved into our house (besides yarn and buttons):

She is a declawed cat, who showed up at our house, starving, guess she couldn’t catch anything without any claws. Hopefully she will make a full recovery, she actually has a distended stomach. We are calling her Eddie. Since she will ignore whatever name we give her anyway, why not Eddie.

And this little guy, sort of yarn related since he is an Australian shepherd/Border Collie mix, Frankie, 9 weeks old:

Could he possibly be any cuter??

With that, Frankie bids you goodnight…

Working for the weekend…

Haha, do you have that Loverboy song stuck in your head now? It was earworming me for a couple of days after I found out that they are coming out with a new album. The 80’s: been there, done that, have the t-shirt. And I’m not going back, especially for the hideous t-shirts.

But back to OUR actual topic… Kathryn HAS been working for the weekend, for the Twist Fibre Festival weekend, 25-26 August.

Some yarn and fibre drying:

BFL roving, we both love BFL, love to spin and knit with it (don’t you just want to pet it?):

She even had her visiting mother, an acclaimed artist and teacher, working! Slave driver!

Some gorgeous wool and silk yarn:

And a box bursting with roving!

I was busy too. I put down some of my latest obsessions and got to work on samples for Kathryn. It is a new shawl pattern – the green one is knit with BFL and the red one is from Kathryn’s fingering weight merino singles. I haven’t come up with a name for it yet because I suck at coming up with names (like I suck at taking pictures) but I will by the time I make it available. (Then again, I could be brilliantly inventive and original like Vogue Knitting magazine and name it “#05 Lace shawl”.) I am also working on a slightly different version in Kathryn’s sport weight alpaca/soy yarn, but that will still be on the needles and in the experimental stage for Twist.

If you have a idea for a name, let me know!

And hope to see you at Twist!

New Camera!

A couple of days ago I bought a new Nikon DSLR so I could take good product shots as well as to have for just plain fun. Here’s one of my first photos. Isn’t it pretty?!Image

Merino/Nylon Sock Yarn 420 yards 115 grams

Knitting Retreat

We had a great weekend at the Barn, relaxing and fun. The weather was perfect for Kathryn’s yarn dyeing workshop which took place outdoors and the house was lovely and cozy for knitting and learning new techniques from Julie. We had lots of time to visit with old friends and make new ones, share good meals together and indulge in the passion that brought us all together, knitting!

Here are a few photos that show a bit of the weekend.