Thursday, March 31, 2011

Free knitting pattern: Purse by Leanne Dyck

I love this purse--not only is it stylish but it's also self-lined. All of which make it an ideal spring/summer purse. I've knit this purse from cotton, raw silk, linen and hemp/cotton blend yarns. 

You will need two balls of worsted weight yarn (approximately 210 yards/192 metres each).

Knitting needles: one set of straight needles 4.50 mm (US 7/UK 7) and two double point needles

Tension: 1" = 5 stitches

To make the body of the purse use the double knit technique.

Cast on 45 stitches

Work in pattern for 13 inches.


Row 1: knit one, *slip stitch as if to purl (bringing yarn forward), knit one, continue from * to last two stitches, slip stitch, knit one

Row 2: knit one, *knit one, slip stitch continue from * to last two stitches, knit two

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern.

This is what the double knit technique looks like on the needles.

and off...

This stitch pattern creates a lining for your purse.
Cast off two stitches at a time--a knit stitch and a slip stitch treated as one stitch.
To make the strap make I-cord

Cast on 4 to 6 stitches (depending on how thick you want your strap. The more stitches the thicker the strap.)

Work the first row in garter stitch

Once you've knit the first row don't turn your work. Instead, keep the right side of the work facing you and slide the stitches to the other end of the needle. Bring the working yarn forward. Continue working in this manner until you begin to create a "tube". During the initial rows of I-cord, the wrong side may resemble little ladders. Fear not, the laddering will disappear as you continue to work while maintaining tension.

Work the cord to the desired length.

To assemble the purse...

Fold the purse like an envelope. Make the first fold 8 1/2 inches down from the top. The folded piece should be 5 inches deep.

Sew the sides.

Fold the top flap down.

Sew on strap.

(Optional) Attach a button closure.

Weave in ends

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wool (basic knitting tutorial) by Leanne Dyck

photo by ldyck--while in Iceland 


Some seasoned knitters insist that all knitters should knit with wool [natural animal fibre]. I DON'T AGREE! I firmly embrace the "KISS" principle--Keep It Simple Sweetie. When the process of learning, I do not like to pile it on. I want to learn the basics and then I want to proceed from there.

Wool requires special care. You must learn to form a ball from a hank; to block your work; and how to launder your wool garment. Knitting is a challenge to learn without piling on these additional lessons.

Synthetic yarn does not require blocking. It is sold in a form that you can begin to knit immediately. Synthetic yarn is also easily laundered--simply machine wash and dry. Knitting with synthetic yarn is knitting without "baggage."

Beyond these considerations are those of price. Wool generally is far more expensive than synthetic yarn. If you are not sure you are a knitter why break the bank on wool?

Still, wool has its allure. There is nothing like knitting with it for pure sensual delight. However, it is a pleasure best left until after you have your first couple of projects completed.

That said, there are many fine synthetic/wool blends that offer the ease of synthetic and the luxury of wool. Look for them in your local yarn shop or on the web.

(Quoted from Yarn Therapy: an introduction to knitting by Leanne Dyck. Exclusively available from the dragonfly gallery on Mayne Island.)

photo by bdyck of ldyck in sweater

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Free pattern: spring coil scarf

You got to know that if I'm ever offered yarn, I seldom if ever refuse it.
Case in point, two years (a guesstimate) a box of novelty yarn appeared on my doorstep.

The balls varied in size and colour. However, all were less than 200 yards.
What am I going to make with this?
I grabbed circular needles (4.50 mm/US 7/ UK 7) 32 inches long--from needle tip to needle tip.
Tension: 5 stitches = one inch

I cast on 80 stitches and I worked in garter stitch for approximately four inches.

What would you have made?
Work in progress: Turning ( a young adult adventure)
Word count: 37, 098 words
A new sentence added: They clung to her curve and accented her china doll colouring.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Buying Yarn by Leanne Dyck

Buying Yarn
The Rural--Urban split

...Seen through rural eyes, an urban knitter need only open their front door to venture forth into the world of yarn. Rural knitters envision yarn shops on every corner. The reality may be sadly different. With big box stores vying for customers, establishing a small independent yarn shop is not easy.

Urban knitter chant, "Support your local yarn shop."

Rural knitters respond, "We would love to!"

Some rural knitters are fortunate to have wool producers in their backyard, such as Meadowmist Farm on Mayne Island.

For those who don't, purchasing yarn requires a long drive to the nearest city. This shopping trip is squeezed into a long list of tasks. Not for the rural knitter a day devoted to visiting a multitude of yarn shops.

The Internet is the great equalizer. Access to a computer allows both rural and urban knitters to shop until they drop.

Start here...

Yarn Canada

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reporting from a writing event

Last Friday (March 11th) I attended a writers' event organized by the Writers' Union of Canada.

Secure Footing in a Changing Literary Landscape
Professional Development Symposium for Writers in All Phases of Their Careers


The Presenters
Kelly Duffin


There was a lot of information and it was shared at a good tempo. What I caught I will share with you.


-The publishing industry is changing. Some writer view it as a frieghtening time, others view it as a brave new world--both views presented by the presenters. We, the participants, were encouraged to keep an open mind and do our own research.


The presenters noticed some overall trends
-manuscripts are expected to be in a more "reader ready" state.
-authors must develop a multi-media platform in order to attract a publisher and further their careers.
-royalities are shrinking
-self-publishing is now mainstream
-literary agents are now working with small presses
-in the U.S. literary agents are working with self-published authors
-in the U.S. the sales of books are up 8%
-in Canada the sale of hardcover and coffee table books are down. All other books are stable
-in Canada we are losing 50 bookstores a year
-the industry standard for author share of ebooks is 25%. The Writers' Union of Canada suggests authors request 30-35%
-Ebooks will eventually overtake print in sales
-Bill C32 was discussed. The goal of most copyright laws is to protect the rights of the artist. C32 protects the rights of the user. If there is no election in the near future, the prediction is that parliament will adopt C32. (I say, "Let's have an election.")


You may recall my assignment for this event was to make three social contacts.
"How did you do?" You ask.
Well, immediately upon arriving I introduced my self to one of the presenters. (one-check). I sat at a table with five other writers and introduced myself to each (five-check). I also introduced myself to approximately three other authors including...

Canadian icon and humourist Arthur Black

So, yes, I'd say I passed with flying colours. : )

(...and you know--this is a secret--it wasn't that, tell no one.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Basic knitting tutorial: purl

Today we will put some purls on your needles.
You will recall, from last Monday's post, that the needle that is doing all the work we are calling the 'worker'. The needle that is simply carrying the stitches we are calling the 'carrier'.

Put the tip of the worker needle behind the yarn.

Thrust the tip of the worker needle into the old stitch.

Bring the yarn over the tip of the worker yarn and between the two needles. Bring the worker needle down into the new stitch.

Once the new stitch is on the worker needle pull the old stitch off the carrier needle. You now have a purl on your needles.
Next knitting lesson: We will talk about yarn.
Next post: My experience at the Writers' Union of Canada symposium
Work on work in progress
Word count: 34, 610 words
A new sentence added: There are roses and kisses for everyone, but there aren't any for me--not for big loser Lyndi.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Promoting a book by Leanne Dyck

Two months after a epublisher released my thriller--The Sweater Curse--I went to a writers' symposium organized by The Writers' Union of Canada


-a tee featuring the book cover of my new book
-a cardigan I especially designed for the event. 

and carrying...

-post cards featuring the book cover and  book blurb
-bookmarks featuring the book cover
-business cards with my contact information, blog URL and author photo

Was I set or what? : )

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Sweater Curse reviewed by Deborah Warner

Title: The Sweater Curse
Author: Leanne Dyck
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Thriller
Length: Short Story/ 87 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Deborah Warner


Alone, waiting, held captive in a grey area of betwixt and between, Gwen Bjarnson purpose is unknown. For her to understand the end she must revisit her past, leading her on a path of rediscovery.

She has moxie, she has style, and men find her charms hard to resist. She knows how to play the role of seducer. Gwen is a product of her environment, the skeptical nonbeliever of all things good. Taught at an early age that the true measure of a person is based on wisdom and not beauty, Gwen rebels against values placed on her with a hardening of the heart and non-compliance, forever disconnecting herself from the institution called family.

An undeniable pessimist consumed with thoughts of opulence and grandeur. Gwen focuses those aspirations in her ability to create unique pieces of art, manipulating yarn in any form that she desires into an attention grabbing garment. All of this could not be accomplished if it wasn't for the help of her lover, confidant, ego booster and muse, Jay Cardew. He's the guy you want around if you want a tender push into fame.

Gwen and Jay are a mix match sorrowful couple wanting their heart desires, they are two deserving characters. This is a story told from Gwen's perspective, given insight into her despair. Unusual appearance of secondary characters make for a mixture of comical, complex and sometimes sullen story.

There's a mysterious presence looming throughout this story that Author Leanne Dyck manages to engulf the reader in. I found myself totally engrossed in Gwen's world as she wonder on her life's journey determined to break free of the circumstance that has captured her, lingering her in a perpetual state of torment.

If ever there's someone to cheer for then Gwen is the one. Take a seat as you become consumed in her quest for redemption, searching for unconditional love of the one who will become her path to salvation. Go out and pick this one up, you'll find yourself immersed as well. I recommend The Sweater Curse for all who's looking for life to give them a break.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How-to knit garter stitch by Leanne Dyck

These are the steps I follow to work garter stitch...

The knitting needle in my right hand does all the work so I call it the working needle. The knitting needle in my left hand simply carries the stitches so I call it the carrier.

1. Put the tip of the working needle through the centre of the old stitch.

2. Wrap the yarn around the working needle.
3. Pull the yarn through the old stitch. Then pull the stitch off the carrier needle. Eventually all the stitches will be transferred from the carrier needle onto the working needle as the working needle becomes the carrier and the carrier becomes the working needle.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sally in her kitchen (short story) by Leanne Dyck

"I found Sally sitting on her kitchen floor. Her knees were drawn to her chest as she slowly rocked back and forth. Prone on the floor next to her was a body I recognized as her husband--a large knife embedded in his back. She struggled for words, but all I heard were sobs. Word by word, I added each and finally understood. ""