Archive for the ‘WEBS on the Road’ Category

Book Review – Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans

Friday, April 9th, 2010
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It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed a book here on the blog, but when our lovely friends at Berroco unleash a new publication it’s time to stop and take notice.

Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans – More Than 50 Beautiful, Affordable Desings Featuring Berroco’s Comfort Yarn by Norah Gaughan, Margery Winter & The Berroco Design Team has just been released.   As the title says, it is packed with more than 50 afghan patterns knit and crocheted using Berroco’s very price-conscious Comfort yarn.

For 150 or so pages, I was treated to project after project that simply tickled me.  I love that the book is a blend of knit and crochet AND that they are pretty equally represented (27 knit afghans and 24 crocheted afghans to be exact).  Crochet projects are often thrown in as a token gesture or after thought but the team creating this book, lead by Norah and Margery, did the crocheters proud.

With so many patterns to choose from, it was hard to select favorites.  In fact, it seemed my favorites kept changing each time I took another look.  I finally narrowed my picks down to 5:

Although Garter Stripes is “the ultimate in easy knitting” I make no apologies for loving it.  

It’s simplicity speaks to my own personal aesthetic of minimalism.  Since Berroco  Comfort features over 95 colors, the possibilities for customizing this blanket are endless.  There are three panels that are joined at the end to create an afghan 66″w x 60″ long.

Although the color selection doesn’t speak to me despite its ties to the history of this particular design, Crazy offers a very interesting construction using only single crochet and decreases at the beginning and end of rows.  

Inspired by crazy quilts of the 1880’s, the afghan is a series of 6 squares constructed by creating 4 individual triangles and joining upon completion.   Having said that, upon further inspection I now realize that the shapes that constitute the squares aren’t all exactly triangles but since my high school geometry is failing me at the moment, just cut me some slack.  (NOTE:  My very mathematically inclined Berroco rep, the lovely Andra, just returned my call and she was able to solve the mystery – of course, they are simply quadrangles.  I remembered trapezoids and parallelograms but not the simple quadrangle – thank you Andra).

Staying with crochet for the moment, we must take a look at Pinwheel:

Comprised of 140 squares, each is “composed of open-grid filet crochet, which is then embellished with a pinwheel of crocheted chain stitch”  There was no way I could have explained that any better so why try?  Once all of the squares are completed they are simply chain stitched together using a contrasting color.

Not overly difficult, but certainly time consuming, Pinwheel is a good travelling project.  Small and compact you don’t need to lug a lot around with you and you can alternate between creating a bunch of squares and then doing the embellishment and then back to squares to keep things interesting.

Nordic Holidayis bold and modern and it just intrigues me.  It was pointed out to me by my math consultant that it has vague resemblance to a lovely handwoven rug by Jason Collingwood that we have on display at the store.

Again – no intricate knitting is involved here but some smart design techniques result in a graphical wonder.  Love the red stair steps!  Directions are included for both a large blanket and smaller throw.

Herringbone is an afghan I would by in a store if I saw it.  It’s modern and classic all at the same time  – I can easily imagine it in the Calvin Klein bedding section of Bloomies.

I love this blanket.  It speaks to me and I want it.  What more is there to say?  It’s a great project for those of you who have been intimidated to try cables – the herringbone pattern is created using cables and twisted stitches.  The afghan is finished with a lovely 2-row crochet edging.

Now a few words about Comfort yarn.  Comfort comes in four weights – sock, dk, worsted and chunky.  It’s 50% super fine acrylic/50% super fine nylon.  Don’t go making faces or saying impolite things about Comfort.  It is a fine yarn – a might fine yarn at that.   This is not your typical acrylic yarn.  It’s soft and sophisticated and not at all icky.  The worsted and chunky retail for $5.75 per ball with 210 and 150 yards respectively.  DK is only $3.25 per ball with 178 yards while sockis $7.50 for 440 yards.  Comfort is machine washable and I would even hazard to say machine dryable – just be gentle!

I think overall the book is fabulous.   It is soft cover, lovely paper that are a joy to turn, gorgeous photography.  The page numbers are microscopic – I’m all for the “design elements” of a piece but it bugs me when it’s they are not functional.  The instructions from what I’ve gathered assume a certain level of basic knitting and crochet skill meaning not every last thing is spelled out.  I don’t find this problematic but it’s important to point out.  At $19.95 it’s a book you should seriously take a look or two at.

If you will be attending Stitches South in two weeks, you are in for a great treat in the WEBS booth!  The lovely Andra has been working overtime (as have her knitters/crocheters) to create large squares representing 16 of the designs in the book.  They will be on display at the show and I can probably arrange to have them in the store after that.

Finally, on Monday, we will have a VERY special Q&A post with Norah Gaughan herself.  I asked her a series of questions about the book and it’s creation.  I’m thrilled to have Norah share her thoughts with all of us!  Stay tuned for Monday!

Enjoy,

Kathy

Wrap Up Wednesday

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
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Hi Everyone

It’s been a crazy few days with Steve being at Stitches West, Olympic Knitting, hockey, “the foot” and life.  I definitely lost control here on the blog.  I have a variety of odds and ends I’ve been wanting to share with you so in order to get myself back on schedule I”m going to lump several things into this post.

1.  Thanks to everyone who came out for our Superbowl Event.  I wasn’t able to attend but Karen our Store Manager and her team did a FABOO job!  She sent me these pics a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been behind in posting them.

It was a great afternoon of fiber fun, food and prizes!

2.  Our Launch Party for Gail Callahan’s new book “Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece” was an absolute blast on Sunday 2/21.  We had a great crowd, those Gail holds near and dear were present and I had a great time dyeing my first skein of yarn!

Gail has provided me with the supplies I need to finish dyeing my skein.  We went through the complete process but it was a little rushed and a little stressful following Gail’s instructions in front of a crowd of people!  My skein currently has many “white” or “bare” areas which some folks love.  Me?  Not so much.  I want my skein solid, so I need to do a little more work on it.  The spots are visible in the last picture above.

3.  Well?  How did you all do on your Olympic Knitting?  Inquiring minds want to  know so PLEASE leave a comment!  Me?  Well – I certainly didn’t win a medal but made a respectable showing.  The two hats that were on my list were finished and given that they are belated Christmas gifts I am thrilled I got them done.  Here’s the first one finished, which I had previously posted:

And here’s the second:

Same pattern, this time using Misti Alpaca Chunky and our basic Hat from Measurements pattern.  It only took one skein which was great – especially since I didn’t swatch and therefore didn’t get gauge and therefore was freaking out it would be too small. . . . In the end it all worked out.  I even had J2 model it to reassure myself the size would be okay for the recipient:

I also got past the halfway point on the never-ending Blue Sky Alpaca Worsted scarf.

The chicken and the crochet scarf?  Well. . . . . .not so much.  I knew the crochet scarf was a stretch so I’m actually okay with the fact it didn’t come to fruition.  The chicken bums me out.  I don’t know why I have such a mental/knitters block on this project.  I did get side tracked with some super secret swatching and I did lose some time obsessing over the gauge issue with the 2nd hat but in the end they are simply excuses.  The chicken parts and pieces and the crochet scarf will be coming on vacation with me so there is still hope.

4.  Last week’s free pattern – Buckland knit in either Rowan Cotton Jeans or Natural Silk Aran.

It’s a great cardi and both yarns are currently on closeout at WEBS so it’s now a very affordable project as well!

5.  Our thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth at Stitches West.  Although I stayed home this year, I know the entire crew was thrilled to see so many familiar faces and make so many new friends.  I’ve been hearing snippets of the antics of Sunday night but as Della of Della Q reminded me today “What happens at West, stays at West” so I guess that’s all I’ve got.

6. The main reaon I stayed home and more important than my annoying foot injury was the fact that it was the last week of winter term at our boys’ school and that always means special activities, performances, etc.  For J1, it meant the end of his term in drama and that means a play:

It’s not a classic, it was a quirky ensemble piece that they performed beautifully.  Having watched this crew in plays since kindergarten it’s amazing to see them as 5th graders and how far they’ve come.  It’s also really cool to see how comfortable they are on stage and with each other.  Job well done.

The end of winter term in 3rd grade means only one thing – the Biography Fair.  Two years ago, J1 wrote his report and presented himself as Tom Brady.  Although I had hoped J2 would step up and channel some amazing historical individual, the sports gene runs long and deep in this family so I wasn’t surprised when he decided to study a famous hockey player.  What was surprising was his choice:

Yes, just days before the USA played Canada for gold, J2 profiled and channeled Marty Brodeur.  Now remember, J1 is the goalie, not J2.  If you want my professional “mom” opinion on all of this, I think that J2 just wanted and excuse to wear all the gear:

I was pleasantly surprised when he opted to wear our goalie pads from street hockey vs. J1’s ice hockey pads.

The street hockey pads are MUCH lighter and easier to transport.  On my own and with an injured hoof, I was grateful for the lightened load.

7.  While we’re talking hockey. . . . . I would be remiss if I didn’t share my thoughts on the USA/Canada gold medal game.  First and foremost – what a great game!  My heartfelt congratulations to the Canadian team and fans.  Job well done.  Ryan Miller, the USA goalie rocked the games and reminded our young goalie that things don’t always work out.  Even the best of the best let in goals.  It was a good, although painful lesson all around.  To John Quick – 3rd goalie on the US team and former goalie at UMass right here in Amherst – congratulations.  We were all thrilled when our hometown hero made the team and although he only had limited playing time (another good lesson quite honestly) it was exciting to know he was a part of  the Olympics.

So now we turn to 2018.  Why not 2014 you ask?  Well, those games will be fun to watch, but as J1 and J2 see it, 2018 is the first year they will be eligible to participate.  It’s unlikely but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming and trying.  I’m certainly not about to discourage them :)

I”m sure there are a few other loose ends I’m forgetting, but I’ve covered a lot of ground.  Please leave a comment and let me know how your Olympic knitting turned out!

Kathy

Ready, Set, Knit #165

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
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Hi Everyone

This week on Ready, Set, Knit we opted not to have a guest.   Pixie has missed a couple of weeks due to illness, so this week and allow Pixie a chance to catch up on our Fearless Finishing discussion.

Steve & I discussed some new yarns and happenings at the shop as well.

New Yarns

Pashmina from MadelineTosh
Silky Wool from Elsebeth Lavold (6 new colors)
Manahattan from Prism

Cotton Multicolor from Blue Sky Alpacas

Just a reminder, Steve & many members of our team will be at Stitches West later this week.  Be sure to stop by and visit us, we’ll be in Booths 701-709 & 800-808.  I won’t be making the trip out this year.  End of term activities for the kids at school, plus I don’t think my foot is quite up for all the Stitches West can be!

You can listen to Ready, Set, Knit! via our website or you can download the podcast on iTunes.

Enjoy!

Kathy

TNNA Recap

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

Thanks for your patience while I took my sabbatical from the blog.  It’s good to be getting back into the swing of things.

Shortly after New Year’s Steve & I headed out to Long Beach for the spring TNNA Show.  The show itself is only 3 days but between events and the fact that I’m actively involved in the organization itself unable to say “no” to my colleagues when it comes to projects and committees, I was in lovely LB for a total of 8 days.

The trip was great – enjoyed some of the most spectacular SoCal weather you can hope for in January, connected with many of the amazing people in our industry AND shopped.  I shopped for fiber-y things, but also go to do a little non-fiber shopping as well.  More on that in a minute.

The spring show is the smaller of the two.  Our suppliers introduce fewer yarns as the spring season is just that much shorter.  I often think we take the “seasonality” of knitting a bit too far – it’s not as if when the calendar hits March 21st everyone packs up their wool and alpaca yarns and only knit with cottons.

We do most of our major buying ahead of the show but there are always new and exciting products to be discovered.  One accessory that stopped me in my tracks was this beauty:

This is the Monroe bag from Namaste.  I.Love.It.  We’ve carried the Namaste line for awhile – they make a great product that looks good and is functional.  Bags are a very personal thing and although I’ve liked their bags in the past, they haven’t necessarily been my style.  This one is.  Why?  I love the lines, I love that it doesn’t have reversse-stitching as many of their bags do, I love the size, room with out being too big.  It has great compartments. 

It has symmetry and I love symmetry.  We’ll have this bag in stock shortly in all of the colors.  I was personally torn between black and the lime – you can see which won out.  Any guesses what that skein of yarn is in my bag???

Another find that tickles me to no end is Iris:

Iris is the result of a collaboration between Rebecca Danger of Danger Crafts and Lorna’s Laces.  Iris isn’t just your average monster, she’s a Gourmet Monster.  She has an entire bio on the back of the package.

She loves food – everything from the preparation to, of course, the eating.  Her favorite food?  Cheese – good cheese, gourmet cheese.  Iris and I have the potential to be VERY good friends.

Iris comes several sizes based on the yarn used and in the six new cool colorways that Beth introduced at the show.  Here’s the smaller Iris:

We have something very special in the works for this adorable monster so stay tuned!  The kits themselves will be up on the site and available shortly.

Lantern Moon wins the prize for the coolest display at the show.  Look at how they arranged all of their faboo accessories:

I only wish my camera/photography skills could have captured the real beauty of this display.  Kudos to the Lantern Moon team!

As Steve & I were walking the show, this caught our eye:

Gail’s (a.k.a. the Kangaroo Dyer) soon-to-be-released book was there!  We saw her book in the wild – all grown-up and out on it’s own!  It stopped Steve & I in our tracks and I think even Steve let out a little *squee*.  The lady manning the distributor booth mentioned it was not out yet and I explained “I know – the author works with us!”  Gail is our guest on this week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit so be sure to tune in on Saturday or download the podcast to hear all about the book!  You can also pre-order it on our site or in the store!

There were some other great new yarns that we purchased that we’ll be talking about in the coming days and weeks so be sure to check back.

I was able to take an afternoon to myself before heading home.  Ironically, I opted for some retail therapy here:

I love to shop and I don’t have a lot of options in Western Mass.   Shopping in an A or probably an A+ mall is a treat – getting to see trends in style & color, checking out displays and merchandising  is such a treat.  Then there were the shoes. . . . . . .

But the true exclamation point at the end of this trip was this:

A gorgeous California sunset over Bloomies :)

Kathy

Stitches East 2009

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
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It’s finally here!  This weekend at the Connecticut Convention Center, Stitches 2009 will be in full swing.  We’re excited because this is the first time a Stitches will be this close to home for us.  Although it’s also a little strange.  Usually when we go to these shows, we’re immersed 100% in only the show.   This time the rest of our life will not be on hold or on the backburner while we’re “away”.  Working at th show will be fully integrated with hockey, cooking meals, getting the laundry done, etc. 

We hope to see many of you this weekend.   You’ll find us in booths 301-309 & 400-408.  Ten booths PACKED with yarn.  The highlight of which is the debut of Blue Moon Fiber Arts at WEBS

The show runs today and Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from 10-4.  The Connecticut Convention Center is a brand new facility and with free wi fi – my new favorite place for a show! 

There will be lots of great activities throughout the weekend – demos in the hall, classes being offered, book signings, etc.  If nothing else, you’ll come away inspired and maybe with a slightly larger stash!

Be sure to stop by the WEBS Booth and say hi!

Kathy

Events Past, Present, Future

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
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Hi Everyone

To say we have a lot going on in October would be a MAJOR understatement.  It’s only October 7th and we’ve already been busy and we have three events still to come this week alone!

Before we get into what we have upcoming, a couple of belated thank yous.  First to the fabulous Amy Singer who was at the shop just two short weeks ago.  For those who made it to her “No Sheep for You” presentation, it was a great evening. 

I only had time to make a quick introduction and snap a couple of pictures before I had to speed up to the boys’ school for Back to School night.   As I left the classroom, it was already full of laughter.  Her class the next day was a hit and then – she was gone.

Last week we hosted author and designer Mary Beth Temple.  She was in the shop on Thursday night to sign copies of her latest book Hooked 4 Life and offered a free class on Friday that she’s in the process of refining. 

This past Sunday was our annual Knit for the Cure event.  We once again partnered with the Cancer Connection and this year we knit chemo caps.  Thanks to everyone who came and participated.

I told you it’s been busy!

Tomorrow, October 8th, we are tickled to welcome Ysolda Teague to WEBS.  She’ll be in the shop from 6-7:30pm signing copies of her book (which we’ll have for sale), selling some of her single patterns and most importantly, displaying many of her garments.  Should be a fun time so be sure to drop by!

This weekend is Columbus Day weekend.  The hockey schedule shifts into full game mode and we are also participating in two major events here in our valley. 

The first is in partnership with Yankee Candle.  If you listened to last week’s podcast, you already know what’s going on.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf will be a the Yankee Candle Flagship Store  in South Deerfield, MA over the weekend.  Each Day from 12-4pm folks visiting Yankee Candle will have the chance to knit a row on the scarf to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  We are donating the needles and yarns to the cause and are truly thrilled to be partnering with such a great company.  For more details, visit the Yankee Candle site

In addition to the Yankee Candle event, we are also going to be participating in the Paradise City Arts Festival.  For those of you not familiar with Paradise City, it is a high-end, juried craft show.  The artists who participate are truly gifted.  Several of our customers participate in the fall show and it’s always great to see them.  This year, we’ll be doing a variety of demos and participatory activities geared towards kids.  Here’s our schedule:

Sat 12-1pm Spinning Demo with Ashley
Sat 1-2pm Wet Felting with Gail (aka The Kangaroo Dyer)

Sun 12-1pm Kool-Aid Dyeing with Gail (aka The Kangaroo Dyer)
Sun 1-2pm Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom with Leslie Ann

Mon 11:3o-1pm Beading with Janet

If  you’re planning to be in the area this weekend, I highly encourage you to check out both of these events and of course swing by the store to say hi and to check out a GREAT trunk show from Filatura Di Crosa.  We have 10 or so amazing garments that will be in the shop for the next couple of weeks.

Also coming up later this month:

10/17 Bus Trip to Rhinebeck - my last update showed only 7 or 8 seats left!

10/19 & 20 Annie Modesitt will be at WEBS.  She’s teaching a class and although we haven’t scheduled a formal booksigning, I’m sure if you are loitering about with her book in hand, she’ll be happy to add a little signature!

10/20ish We’ll be receiving a Trunk Show from Judy’s Colors.  It’s really time to get inspired for holiday and her stocking kits are just the thing to get us rolling!

10/23-25 Stiches East in Hartford.  Did you listen to the podcast a couple of weeks ago?  Did you hear our big announcemnt? 

 We are partnering with the amazing Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts and will be carrying a wide array of her yarns, including the Socks that Rock family in our booth at Stitches East and after the show, back at the shop

It’s so beautiful and exciting I can barely stand it.  Tina is one of those amazing women that I just wish lived closer so I could just be around her more often.  We are incredibly honored to be carrying her yarns.

We will not be carrying any BMFA on our website and it will not be discountable.

November is pretty jam-packed as well and we kick things off on November 7th with the lovely Clara Parkes.  She’s teaching a class and will be signing copies of  her NEW book The Big Book of Wool

She’s also our guest on this week’s podcast so be sure to tune in!

There’s more, but I think that’s enough for now!  What events are you most excited about?  Anyone we haven’t had at the shop that you are hoping to see on the schedule?

Kathy

Sock Summit Wrap Up

Saturday, August 15th, 2009
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It has been so fun getting to read about different experiences at Sock Summit on Ravelry and a bevy of different blogs.  The one common thread I’ve found is how deeply personal the journey to Portland was for so many along with the pure joy of just being able to participate and be part of the community.

Prepping for, traveling to and setting up for a tradeshow is a ton of work.  We love doing it – as I’ve said before we actually kind of thrive on it which I know sounds really weird.  Although we always make time to shop the marketplace – heck we’re all in it for the yarn just like everyone else – we rarely get to take classes or participate in events.  In all honesty, we’re usually  just too tired and have usually used up every ounce of social skills while working the booth during the day. 

At Sock Summit it was a wee bit different.  Our amazing team in different combinations were able to attend some of the evening events, Barbara Walker’s talk and more.  On Friday, I went to the Guiness World Record attempt.  Initially, I had planned to just sneak in the back, take a couple of pictures, maybe a short video to document it and scoot back out.  Before I headed up to the ballroom I grabbed a pair of straight needles and a ball of Valley Yarns Superwash and took it with me, just in case.  So glad I did.  Here’s a couple of shots from inside the ballroom ahead of the attempt:

What follows is a video of Stephanie’s entire opening comments.  It’s long – 8 minutes+ but worth your time.  I usually try to keep videos short and sweet but this was just classic Stephanie and much too important to edit.  I did my best to really try to capture the essence of what it was like to be there:

 

Funny story, as Steph was wrapping up her comments and getting ready to hand things over to Tina for the kick-off, the young lady sitting next to me whispered to me “It’s time to stop video taping”.  I said, “I will as soon as we are told to start knitting”.  She responded “I REALLY think you need to stop now and pick up your knitting”.  I think she was afraid I was going to blow it for the entire room.  No worries.  I accomplished my 15 minutes of consecutive knitting AND caught it all on tape :)

 

I am so glad I stayed and participated.  I was there by myself and it was just a magical moment for me.  We’ll know in a week or two if the attempt is accepted!  Stay tuned!

Friday night, we all attended the Sock Hop at the Portland Museum of Art.  It was a great time.  I love to dance and probably would have stayed all night but the team was hungry.  Sorry the picture is dark – the lights were very dim and my camera was not cooperating:

Ron of Buffalo Gold spent most of the show with us in our booth – we had his LOVELY yarn.  On Saturday morning he brought us Voodoo Doughnuts:

Like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  I’m only sorry that J1 and J2 missed the Fruit Loop and Cocoa Puff topped doughnuts.  Then again, not so much.

We saw lots of amazing knitting but this my friends, was the winner:

Yup – knit crutch covers.  She did these in a very short period of time and although I’m not 100% sure of the construction, the yarn is Noro Kureyon.  They were just awesome.

Lastly, I have this very special trinket given to me by Stephanie:

Why you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  One of the SS09 volunteers came down to our booth on Friday morning looking for straight needles for the Guiness attempt.  Fine, no problem.  Turns out they were for Barbara Walker.  I’m ringing up another customer and Steve was dealing with the needles.  Next thing I know, out of the corner of my eye I see a credit card being slid through the machine.  I then had what can only be called – An Outer Body Experience.  I looked at Steve and said “You are NOT charging Barbara Walker for needles!”  He looked at me and the lovely volunteer said “Oh, I’m paying for them – no problem.”  I said “NOBODY is paying for needles for Barbara Walker, it’s Barbara Walker“.  At that point I may have stopped raising my voice and switched to my scary, quiet voice – the voice the boys know means they are in serious trouble.  Steve tried to cover his tracks but it was no use.  He knew he was wrong.  The needles were delivered to Barbara Walker and the planets stayed properly aligned.  Can you imagine if that transaction would have happened?  WEBS would have been doomed with bad yarn karma forever!

Steph was wearing the above button when I told her the story and she gave it to me. 

And with that folks, we bid Sock Summit 2009 a fond adieu.  It was magical and we are proud to have not only been a participant but a sponsor.  I can never say enough about what a great job Tina, Stephanie and ST-1 and ST-2 did.

Would love to hear your experience at Sock Summit!

Kathy

Reaching The Summit

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
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We’re back from Sock Summit ’09 and what a show it was.  I can’t remember the last time I participated in an event that was so anticipated, talked about or written about.  For the better part of the past year, since that first phone conversation with Stephanie many months ago, SS09 has been an item on my to-do list.  Other than a bit of post-mortem, it’s completely crossed off now.  It’s sort of a strange feeling.

The event was awesome.  There is simply no other adjective necessary.  Steph and Tina and their team accomplished what few of you (honestly folks) can truly grasp.  I’ve been in charge of several large events in my day.  Nothing compares to the scale of Sock Summit and I stand in awe of how beautifully the event ran.  Kudos to ST-1 and ST-2 – you guys rocked the free world for several days in Portland. 

Being a vendor gave us a unique perspective on the event.  Not that we had any special access, but I did get lots of photos and some pretty cool video that I would like to share with all of you.   If you follow me on Twitter, some of the shots may be repeats (sorry!).  But I want to give a good start to finish recap of what was SS09. 

We were scheduled first to move in last Wednesday afternoon.  Here we are on the loading dock at the OCC:

 

Perusing the program booklet:

 

Let me stop here and say.  It.Was.Gorgeous.  So personal, so perfect, velvety paper and just knock-your-(proverbial)-socks-off photography.  I’ve been in marketing for the better part of the last 20 years and this program book is among the best I’ve ever seen.

They even made sure we had beautiful badges:

 

Move in was move in.  No way to make that romantic:

 

I’ve joked here in the past about us being “Tradeshow Warriors”.  Our team is the best.  We had all of the yarn out and set by the time we said goodnight on Wednesday at 6:45.  Five hours and we were basically done.  Team WEBS rocks!

When we were finished we looked pretty darn good.  We’re never going to be the fancy booth or the prettiest, but we make shopping easy and we think that is what is important:

So there you have it – our excursion to SS09.  Tomorrow I’ll blog about the show experience, but let me leave you with this short video clip.  This it what the crowd waiting to enter the marketplace on Thursday evening was doing just minutes before the doors opened:

 

We’ll be talking about Sock Summit on this week’s episode of Ready, Set, Knit, so be sure to listen!  If you had the chance to attend please leave a comment about your experience at SS09!

Kathy

What To Knit at Sock Summit?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
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That has been quite the question out in the blogosphere and on Ravelry over the past week.  Even Stephanie agonized over her choice.

The reality for me is there won’t be much time for anything once things get rolling.  Set-up starts in just a few short hours and I have a feeling the only yarn and needles I’ll be touching are the ones folks are purchasing!

Fortunately for me, there is the long flight to and from Portland.  Airplane time has always been a preferred knitting time for me – even better than the car.  Like everyone else, I thought about what to bring.  I felt compelled to bring a sock project, but I didn’t have one going and my sock knitting skills are such that I need to pay attention to what I’m doing.  Socks are not somthing I can pick up and put down on a whim.  I thought about some of the existing UFO’s I have but nothing really spoke to me.

Then, this arrived:

 

I had been hoping the advance shipment from Italy would arrive before I left, but I wasn’t holding out hope.  Then, on Monday afternoon literally an hour before I left the office to go home and pack, it came.  I grabbed one ball of every color and brought it home with me to decide on colors.  Here’s what I took:

I’ve had a design swirling in my head for awhile now and I new this yarn would be perfect.  I packed the above three colors (I actually took four, but only needed three) and this:

Yup – I’m at Sock Summit 2009 and I’m (a) not knitting a sock and (b) not knitting at all!  Yay for crochet!  I actually brought several hooks for swatching purposes.  Good thing I did, I ended up happy with an E hook and I went into things firmly believing G was going to work.  Swatch, Swatch, Swatch folks!

I can’t reveal the project in full, but these little beauties are part of it:

Don’t go shaking your head at my little grannies.  I heard those collective yawns.  You have no idea what these are going to be when all is said and done.  I hope in the end my idea works.  I think it will.

Oh – you’re wondering about the yarn?  This very special shipment from Italy?  Folks – it’s really awesome – super soft, it’s been great to work with.  Each ball has 137 yards and it will knit at 5.5 stitches per inch on a #6.  We won’t have it available for another few weeks, but we are super excited to introduce:

Our gorgeous 100% Extrafine Merino Superwash (more…)

Sock Summit Time!

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
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We’ve been talking about it for months, counting the months, weeks and days.  Now we’re down to mere hours until Sock Summit 2009 commences.  Steve & I are here in Portland and are about ready to jump out of our skin!  We took a crack-of-dawn flight and were here at our hotel by noontime PST.  Although I’m not a fan of these super early flights, it was my preference for this trip.  We have never been to Portland so I wanted to be sure we had at least a few hours to explore the city.  For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I was particularly excited to visit Powell’s Bookstore

Powell’s is not only an institution here in Portland, it is probably the single most successful independent bookstore in the country.  Powell’s is HUGE.  I love bookstores so I had to visit, but I also get very excited about successful retailers so I was equally excited to see what Powell’s and its reputation were all about.  I was so excited I completely forgot to take any pictures, but boy did Steve & I have fun!  We both came away with new books and I think you’ll see a theme.  Here’s my selection:

And Steve’s:

We stumbled onto Kenny & Zuke’s Deli and ate sandwiches that were way too good and way too big.  Then we set out to find Nordstroms.  Remember, where I live in W. Mass, our retail options are pretty limited.  On our way, we stumbled on these cool food carts:

They were on both sides of the street and most were pretty busy.  I’ll have to ask a local about them – if you know the history, please post in the comments!

We took the train back to the Convention Center.  Here’s our home away from home for the next few days:

We went inside and walked around, got our bearings and are REALLY ready to roll tomorrow and get the booth set-up.  We will be right at the front of the hall when you come in – booths 603-607 & 702-706.  That’s where you will find us throughout the show! 

We’ll also be attending the Sock Hop on Friday night and possibly the Ravelry Party on Saturday evening (depends if we’re still standing or not).  Please stop by and say hi and check out all of the great yarns we brought along!  I’m hoping to steal a few minutes away from the booth to do a little shopping myself.  There’s a custom color of Lorna’s Laces that I missed out on that another vendor is carrying and I HAVE to have it (as do several folks back home – I come home empty handed and I’m in BIG trouble!).

For those of you coming to Sock Summit – what are you most excited about?

Kathy