Hmmm – it’s Thursday already and I swear it was just Monday and we were all flying home from Stitches West. Some of us had better luck with that than others – I made it in only a 1/2 hour late, the gals were pretty much on time around midnight. Steve & Pete – well, they had to get brand new flights on a completely different airline and Steve rolled in around 3am, but at least he was home. We heard one of our associates spent 23 hours in the Philly airport and finally just gave up. Let’s hope this was winter’s swan song. We’ve all been beaten into submission and are yelling “uncle” at the top of our lungs. Please Mr. Winter – it’s time for you to take a vacation or at least go bug another hemisphere!
Okay – enough about the weather. Let’s talk yarn! Stitches West was a blast as always! It’s the largest of all of the Stitches shows and my personal favorite. The facility is great and I love getting to see our west coast friends.
I have two short video clips to share with you. The first is from Friday morning – a quick tour of the booth and a check on the knitters/crocheters waiting to come into the show. I hope this gives you all some perspective of Stitches:
Next up is the morning after. A shot of the booth on Saturday morning AFTER the insanity of Friday:
It was a great weekend. Thanks to everyone who came by to visit and even if you didn’t shop with us – thanks for making it to the show.
If you were at West – let me know in the comments! What did you think, what did you buy? If not – are you coming to South? I’d also love to hear what you are working on! Any chicken knitters out there??
For The Labor Day Weekend Show. Okay – sorry – carried away. We’re not quite going to San Fran and it’s nowhere near Labor Day but as we work our way through the final punishing weeks of winter here, I can’t help but channel some Jimmy Buffet. Thanks for indulging me
Truthfully, we are heading close to San Francisco and we do have a weekend show – Stitches WEST in Santa Clara! I have to admit as I prep to leave tomorrow, I am still a bit in denial that it’s actually here. I think I’m a bit out of sorts because I should already be there, but “Mommy Duties” trump everything else and as our kids wind down to their version of spring vacation, it’s a jam packed week of performances and such. I’ll share today’s event at the end – I know you all just want the yarn!
Let’s start from the beginning, which is planning:
Then it’s pick, pack and ship – one gigantic order:
Hmm – what is in those boxes? I am not being entirely untruthful when I ask the question. I’m involved in most of the planning, but honestly, Steve & I debate so many of the closeouts back and forth I’m never quite clear what has made the list vs. what hasn’t until we get set-up! What I do know is this:
Berroco Spring ’09 - the best of the best – the yarns, the garments, NGV4. . . .there’s nothing else to say. The amazing Miss Andra will be manning her section of the booth.
Noro – how could we leave the lovelies of Noro at home?? Just not possible. Silk Garden, Kureyon, Silk Garden Chunky (breathe Noro-lovers, breathe)
Valley Yarns - there in full force, including all of the faboo designs from the Spring ’09 catalog AND some early completions for the next catalog! That’s right – the incredible Kirsten knocked out a couple of new things just for WEST including a crocheted scarf out of Rainbow that you will just love! C’mon non-crocheters, give it a chance!
The cream, sprinkles and cherry on the top of the best dessert ever:
Lorna’s Laces - Shephard Worsted & Sock, Helen’s Lace (we don’t even carry it in the shop!) and brand new to market the spectacular Pearl. Oh.Yeah.
Madeline Tosh - Oh so yummy – worsted weight (just added in the store and on-line) and sock. (The worsted just came in and has not made it’s way to the site. Click on the link and refresh tomorrow – it should show up )
Malabrigo including the elusive Sock. We spent so much time picking colors with Tobias at TNNA based on his availability (not what we normally carry) and what showed up was – well – a ton of yarn in some colorways we carry, some we picked and some who obviously just wanted to come along for the ride. Show them some love, okay?
Plus, plus, plus. . . . . .I’m sure there will be some surprises. That’s what is so great about these shows.
We are so excited to see all of you – that’s the most fun! What was interesting as we prepped for this show was the worry/wonder if people would come due to the economy – would you pick classes over marketplace, shopping over classes? If you are coming or not, I’d love to hear why. Not trying to pry, just trying to get a gauge (no pun intended) on things.
I will do my best to post from the show. For the best updates, you all need to be following me on Twitter. I know, I know, one more thing to check, but I *heart* Twitter and I can zip off an update in 5 seconds. For those of you on Facebook, my Twitter feeds post there so you can avoid Twitter and find me on Facebook with the same info.
For those of you not attending the show – have a great next few days and join in the fun via the above options, here on the blog & our Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast!
Last, but far from least, here is Jonathan’s “Family Story” he presented today – the dedication says it all:
Daniel is my nephew/Jonathan’s cousin who is all grown-up and pursuing a PhD. He’s away at school and Jonathan doesn’t get to see him much – this tells us how much those times together mean. The three page story about Daniel and what Jonathan thinks of him is awesome.
Whew! The blog has been a hopping place recently! Thanks for the continued feedback on the videos – more to come there and I’ll continue to work to improve their quality.
Steve and I are headed west this week – to Stitches West to be exact and I’ve got several loose ends that I haven’t had the chance to blog about over the past couple of weeks, so I’m going to toss them all together here in this post. Let’s jump right in!
1. Aussie Wildfires – I cannot imagine anyone who has not heard of the devastating wildfires that have rampaged in Australia. We have many, many customers in Australia, one of my favorite podcasts, Sticks and Strings, is based in Australia and hosted by David Reidy and our warehouse manager Nick is originally from down under. It has been a very worrisome time. There are many efforts going on, most of which have been neatly summarized here on Ravelry and also here by the lovely Suzanne. Times are tight all around so if any of the initiatives suit you, I encourage you to help out. If not, just send some good thoughts and vibes Down Under as I am sure they will be appreciated too.
2. Knitting in the news – a report via the BBC came out this past week that indicates that knitting, along with other activities such as quilting and reading can help delay the onset of memory loss. So, just like keeping ourselves moving at any age, exercising our brains can have a positive, long-term affect! Are any of us surprised? No, but it’s nice to have the validation.
3. Interweave Press announced a new on-line community for hand-spinners earlier this month. I am not a spinner and I will honestly tell you I haven’t spent much time on the site. If you are a hand-spinner or fan of Spin-Off magazine, I encourage you to take the time and check out the new site and community. I’d love for folks to report back in the comments their thoughts!
4. Just a reminder, there are a few days left on the contest we are sponsorign on KnitPurlGurl’s site! If you haven’t visited her site, please do so! Also, her blog post today is very interesting and I’d love for you all to give some feedback!
5. I never did give much of a TNNA recap, other than the weather reports. Sorry! I’m sure most of you have read accounts of the show on other blogs, so I’ll refrain from rehashing. I did want to share this photo with you. Steve & I saw this on our first day and it just made us giggle:
The car wasn’t parked in a spot that would make us think this was a vendor – which is even funnier from a yarn point of view
Then there’s the beauty of Malabrigo:
6. For those of you who listen to the podcast, Steve has been lamenting about the size of the snow piles in our parking lot. He wanted to share this with you:
Looks like this:
It has been a tough, tough winter.
7. We have a cool new event that we’ve added to the schedule. I will blog in more detail about this, but I wanted to get it out to everyone in the area. Barb Parry, owner of Foxfire Fibers and the most pampered flock I’ve ever known will be at WEBS on Saturday, March 21 from 10:30-5:00 with a trunk show of her yarns and garments. She does several regional sheep & wool festivals (including Rhinebeck) and sells her yarns on her website. For the first time, she’ll be at WEBS with many of her yarns available for sale. You can talk to Barb directly about her process, the sheep and more! What makes this event even more special is that she’ll be hosting a slide presentation at 11:00am about the Adventures in Yarn Farming – a peek at the secret life of sheep and the lengths to which a shepherd will go – all for the love of yarn! Special prize give-aways. I didn’t even realize there would be special give-aways! Awesome! Barb is a dear friend and her yarns are just spectacular. I encourage you to make some time on 3/21 to come in and visit with her! If the date simply doesn’t work, Barb will be a vendor at our annual Fleece Market on Saturday, May 16th. You can check her yarns out at www.foxfirefibers.com and keep up with life on the farm with her Sheep Gal Blog. Just wait – we’re only weeks away from the Lamb Cam!
8. Two of our dearest customers were in the other day and as they were visiting in the back offices (yeah – I mean it when I say they are dear to us – they get free hall passes) I noticed they were each carrying armloads of a new closeout Poems. They stoppped by our office to chat and I asked what they had going on and the lovely Mary showed me this:
Are you gasping? You all better be gasping at the beauty that is this bud of a project. Just look at what Mary is turning this yarn into!! Just a basic crocheted hexagon recipe, finish each hexagon leaving a long end and join each finished hex as you go. Not necessary if you prefer the finishing all at once. Mary is a pro and opts to join them as each is finished. Poems is a lovely yarn – we have some discontinued colors for $3.99 a skein. I have no idea how much an afghan will take, but I’ll keep you posted (and maybe even do a little math for you all as well and give you an estimate). For those of you thinking “Bah, crochet, I don’t crochet”, well you could if you wanted to but if you still resist, there are many a knit square options or even a Log Cabin with a couple of complimentary colorways. . . now I’ve got you thinking, don’t I?
There. Done. Ends woven in. Blog Post finished. Thoughts, questions, comments? Better yet, what are your loose ends this week?
I’ve got a Stitches preview coming tomorrow! I’ll also be doing my best to update from the show. Plus – just wait until next week – we’ll be ruffling our chicken feathers in a big way!
Well, it appears that 2009 is going to be similar to 2008 in at least one way. Speed of Time. Despite my determination to slow the pace down a bit, 2009 just doesn’t appear to want to cooperate. Rather than fight a losing battle all year long, I’ve decided to make peace with 2009 and it’s Speed Racer tendencies. I will gladly zip along the days and weeks with you, on one condition. I have the right to shift us into first gear every now and again. I might even slam the breaks on once or twice. I’m hopeful that 2009 will be agreeable to my requests. Wouldn’t want to get into a tussle with an entire year. Only time will tell.
Last week was a crazy week (I know, you are all surprised beyond belief). We got the kids back to school (Hurray!) only to have a snow day on Wednesday (Boo!). Worst part of that was not only was Wednesday a snow day, it was the day of our Kate Jacobs event.
We’re hearty here in New England and Kate, well, consummate professional and trooper are terms that come to mind. Despite our lower than expected turn out, she was gracious and engaging. I always get a wee bit nervous at these events. We plan, we advertise, we spiffy up the place and then all we can do is hope. Yes, we take pre-registrations so we always have an idea of the numbers, but in reality, until folks are in the door and sitting down, nothing is definite.
We have some signed books still available and another 20 or so with signed bookplates. If you are interested, please stop in and pick up a copy. Or if you are ordering on-line, specify you want a signed copy. When they’re gone, they’re gone.
Next day was our catalog shoot. The shoots take a ton of prep and organization to make sure we are using our time efficiently.
I think we got some great shots and I’m so excited about the new designs we have coming. Our team did a great job.
I cannot wait to get the catalog printed and in the mail to all of you. I am particularly interested in your response to the cover. I will say this publicly, it was 100% my choice and Steve and the other folks who’s opinions matter to me were not very supportive. Personally, I love it. I hope you do too.
So, it’s going to be a crazy week (again, shocker of all shockers). We have new spring yarns rolling in, Steve has been buying closeouts like a drunken sailor and we’re off to TNNA, the industry buying show. I’m hoping to capture some cool videos at the show and maybe give you a few sneak peeks along the way.
Oh, and for those who are interested, here’s Jonathan at his first full-ice scrimmage:
This entire last week has been nothing short of a blur. I have a bunch of random items to share, so I’m just going to toss ‘em all out there. That way we’ll be all caught up and current.
Stitches East - Stitches East was a grand time. Love getting to visit with customers we don’t usually get to talk with in person! Thanks for all of the lovely comments about our podcast, Ready, Set, Knit! This is our check out area with our fancy new logo table clothes. This was my home for the entire 3 1/2 days of the show.
You don’t have to feel too sorry for me though because this was my view across the aisle:
Anyone care to guess who’s delicious yarn I stared at all weekend? First correct answer will get a skein sent them from my personal stash, so let’s name the yarn! (NOTE: WEBS Staff are not eligible and those who came to Stitches with us need not guess. MMO – you’re excluded too, cuz I know you know the answer even if you weren’t there).
Great crowds all weekend:
The hot news of the show was this:
That’s right folks, Stitches East will be in Hartford next year. Actually for the next 3 years. We’ll talk more about it as we move into ’09, but you can be sure we’ll be doing something super special!
Speaking of super special, we found a restaurant in Baltimore that I just have to tell you about. Steve was hankering for some sort of Asian fare. We prefer to try to find local places when we travel, rather than chains. The Renaissance Hotel by the harbor recommended Ten 0 Six, which is located at 1006 Light Street in the Federal Hill area. We took cabs but you could walk it from the Inner Harbor area or convention center in about 15 minutes (albeit an uphill walk going there). They serve American and Thai cuisine and are family owned. The place is small, but the food is exquisite. I don’t normally photograph food, but our servings were works of art:
Speaking of works of art, we saw some amazing knitting, but what I am about to show you is so mind boggling incredible, I suggest you take a deep breath. Ready? Okay, here it is:
This is a Chuppah, knit out of 3 cones of our 5/2 Valley Cotton. This is love. The mother of groom created this masterpiece. Look at these closeups:
I told you it was mind boggling. The design was done by the owner of Not Just Plain Jane Knits and the pattern is available (sorry, I seem to be having trouble finding the link).
We came back and launched the new website! Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments and constructive feedback. We’ve worked through many of the kinks and I’m sure there will still be some troubleshooting this week.
We met with one of our favorite suppliers, Tahki Stacy Charles. Diane and Stacy, the owners brought the new line and many of the designs for Spring ’09 to show us:
Let me just say publicly, they have a GREAT spring line. I cannot wait for their yarns to arrive!
I think that basically catches me up. A quick shout out to Kristin Nicholas, who was at the shop yesterday – thanks Kristin! For those of you who were waitlisted for her class, she will be coming back in the spring.
Also, another quick thank you to our friends from Fiesta Yarns, Jeannie & Brad Duncan. They spent Friday & Saturday in the shop doing a trunk show. It was awesome getting to visit with them this weekend!
Don’t forget there is a very special skein of yarn up for grabs if you can guess the name of the yarn company that was across from us at Stitches East! Leave your guess in the comments!
Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! After a very wet, “Florida meets Kansas” kind of summer here in the northeast, we are being rewarded with an absolute gem of a weekend (well, at least today and tomorrow).
I’ve got a few photos from Midwest that I want to share, in addition to the videos I’ve already posted.
First, I think all of you are aware of my penchant for warm weather. The morning I left for Midwest, this was the temperature here (top = outdoor, bottom=indoor):
Yes, it can get very cold here in New England, but that is pushing things for mid-August. A reminder of things to come from Mother Nature I suppose. Makes it even more important to me to savor days like today.
We dined at the Weber Grill in Schaumburg with one of our suppliers and his lovely family. Unfortunately, the mini-van didn’t have quite enough room for everyone. Steve lost the draw:
I was completely taken by this lovely scarf. I wrote down her name and have no idea where that little slip of paper is. It will turn up, but in the meantime, isn’t this adorable?
She called it her diamond square scarf, as the crocheted squares are attached at the corner, thus looking like diamonds. She used SWTC Tofutsies in an array of colors. Here’s a closeup.
I just love it.
This next shot also tickles me. Far from the only sighting of a WEBS purchase over the weekend, but this was on Thursday evening after the market preview in the lounge at the hotel.
What doesn’t come through as clearly as I would have liked is that the bar is lit and the WEBS bag was glowing.
Lastly, here we all are in our exhausted glory. Show over, everything packed up and we were tired and hungry, but happy:
Thanks to Pete, Andra, Kirsten and KT for a SUPER effort. You guys rocked.
Before I put Midwest completely to bed, there’s something else I want to share. Over the course of any show, there are what I will categorize as “moments”. In the scope of the show, they are the memory makers for us. Working these tradeshows is hard, grueling work. This show, I made a point to try to keep track of some of the funnier “Quotes from Schaumburg” to share with all of you. Now remember, they might not seem as funny and entertaining to all of you, as they did to us at the time. Here goes:
“If I don’t see fencing, I’m going to kill someone”
“You haven’t seen Glenn Garry, Glenn Ross and I still married you?”
“There’s a Grim Reaper in all of us” – Wanda, IA
“It feels like someone is breathing on me”
“He probably just smells cats” – owner of Daniel the Golden Lab
“My Noro people are here, should I smoke the credit card?” – anonymous
“What, are you chicken?”
“Yarn.com was here.”
With that, need I say more? See you all in Baltimore for East!
I think I simply wore Blogger out last night in trying to upload these videos. Sorry to have left you with the middle of the Oreo missing, but here we go.
All set and ready for the knitters!
Here is a quick tour of the Berroco section of our booth. In particular, check out the Babettes (Andra’s and Pixie’s) and the beautiful Assemblage Sweater. I “heart” Assemblage. There are three lovely versions for you to see!
I have some regular camera shots from the show that still need to be posted, so stay tuned for those.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Remember, our retail store will be CLOSED Sunday (as always) and Monday in observance of the holiday! You can always order anytime at www.yarn.com!
Just a quick little post from here in Chicago. Our flight, set-up and opening night all went flawlessly. We could have opened at noon yesterday. If I do say so myself, we rocked the free world.
The Market Preview, which was last night, is for registered students only. They were quite an enthusiastic bunch and we had a blast seeing many familiar faces but meeting some new ones too. We had lots of nice comments about Ready, Set, Knit. It always freaks me out a bit to realize that people do actually listen. A few people commented how weird it was to be hearing our voices and seeing us in person.
After the market closed, we stayed here at the hotel for some appetizers. Stitches is a marathon and we’ve learned to pace ourselves.
I have to comment on the hotel. It is only two years old and it is lovely. Seriously lovely. The architecture, the decor, the details, the staff. . . .we’re pretty pro-Marriott people and have stayed in many, across all the brands they have. This Renaisssance is among the best. I may never leave (I realize that could cause a multitude of issues, so just let me bask in my fantasy for a bit longer, okay?). Look at this – this is a feature in the bathroom of our standard room:
Stitches Midwest is nearly upon us! This year’s show is in a brand new location in Schaumburg, IL. Our home for a few days will be the Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center. It’s a brand new facility and we’ll be the only show happening. Registered students can shop the market on Thursday evening from 5-8pm. The market is open to the general public Friday and Saturday from 10-6pm and Sunday 10-4pm. We will be in booths 513-618. Our crew this year includes Pete our Ops Mgr (in other words, he makes sure your orders get picked, packed & shipped), KT our Asst. Store Manager, Kirsten our Design Coordinator, Andra our most faboo Berroco rep and of course Steve & I. Be sure to stop by, say hi, do a little shopping, check out our Valley Yarns and garments (including all the new ones for fall!), Berroco’s fall line and garments (Andra will have both of her Assemblages on display, plus lots more). We’ll have some Kauni in the booth (get it while it lasts) and lots of great deals.
In other news, last week we received the new Nectar pattern book from Rowan. It’s stunning.
We also have Kim Hargreaves Heartfelt and this great garment is on display in the store.
When we received in Artyarns Silk Pearl and Beaded Pearl & Sequins, I was in love. But we all know I am the slowest knitter around, so when Leslie Ann commented that she was wanting to give it a whirl on the Rigid Heddle Loom, I knew we could accomplish two things at once:
Isn’t it gorgeous. I know, the photo doesn’t do it justice. I am bringing home a Schacht Flip Loom after Midwest and I am making one of these in every colorway. This beauty took one hank of Silk Pearl for warp and one skein of Bead Pearl and Sequins for weft.
LA – I cannot thank you enough!
In other news, several of us had the chance to celebrate the upcoming wedding of Mary. Here’s the lovely bride and groom.
We had a great time and are looking forward to the wedding this fall.
Oh and look at this creation – a wedding cake made from towels!
People are so clever! It was very cool.
J1 & J2’s epic summer continued last week with our 3rd Red Sox game of the season.
This one was extra special because (a) I won tickets and I NEVER win anything and (b) the raffle I entered help to contribute to medical expenses for a very sick child in our town.
The seats were incredible:
We even had a waitress and menus!
Fenway franks never tasted so good!
I hope to see lots of you in Chicago!
P.S. Don’t forget – I am now on Facebook and have created a WEBS Page. It still needs some work, but it’s coming along. If you are on Facebook, look me up as a friend and certainly join the WEBS page!
We are wrapping up our week here at the Cape and it has been a great vacation. The trip has not been the reason I haven’t blogged. The blog was locked down by Blogger late last week. Their software identified a bunch of blogs as potential “spammers”. It was fixed within a day or so, but I didn’t realize this. It was posted here on “Blogger Buzz”, but I was waiting for an email response to my request for a “review” of my blog. Oh well, we are on vacation after all so it’s not as if I would have been posting everyday.
Unfortunately, I am now late to the party with a few important happenings and such.
1. Last Friday, the much anticipated Twist Collective went live. Twist Collective is a new on-line magazine that was developed by Kate Gilbert and a trio of very talented friends. The premise was to bring together talented designers and writers and provide them with not only a platform for their work, but also provide them with more flexibility with usage of their work. I interviewed Kate on Ready, Set, Knit, last week and we had a great conversation about her new venture. Overall, I love Twist Collective. I think the format is fresh, the designs are terrific and the content is well done. Twist Collective will be published quarterly and will have smaller updates in between. If you haven’t already checked it out, you should take a few minutes to do so.
2. On Monday, another new on-line knitting magazine went live – Knotions.com, published by Jody Pirello. Jody’s take is all about knitting smarter. She has made the patterns printer friendly, charts that are clickable and easy to enlarge. She offers technique tutorials along with interesting articles. I especially liked the Fall ’08 color trends story. Jody will be our guest on this week’s podcast, so be sure to check that out on Saturday, 8/9!
4. Stitches Midwest is only two weeks away! The show will be held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center in Schaumburg, IL. This is a new location for the show and we are pretty excited about it! Not that we didn’t like Rosemont, but in Schaumburg, the convention center only hosts one event at a time plus the facility is pretty new, so it should be a lovely knitting extravaganza! We will be there in booths 513-618 with all of our Valley Yarns, Berroco, including all of the new fall yarns, pattern books and many, many, many of the actual model garments for you to see! Plus, we’ll have some other fabulous yarns along with some great closeout deals. If you are planning to come to the show be sure to stop by!
5. I forgot to mention that WEBS Beads is participating in our August Sale as well! They will be having weekly specials throughout August. If you live in the area or plan to be during August, be sure to stop by and see what they’ve got on special! This week we’re offering 15% off all findings and stringing materials. Savings in-store only!
6. Our Fall Class Schedule is posted on-line! We have an incredible selection of classes for knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners, dyers and more! We’ve got some great guest teachers coming as well. Clara Parkes, Kristen Nicholas, Susanna Hansson and Galina Khmeleva will all be at WEBS this fall! What is sure to be “the” event of the season happens on September 17th, when Norah Gaughan returns to WEBS! This is a rare chance to spend time with Norah, discuss the new fall yarns and designs with her, learn how they came to be and try on all of the amazing garments! Be sure to check out all of the classes and events and get yourself signed up!
7. I am working hard on the Staghorn Cable Tunic, which is our current KAL on Ready, Set, Knit!. I am a slow knitter, but I am loving this pattern and the entire design in general. It really is not difficult at all, which is why it’s a perfect summer project. Yes, it’s working with wool, but it’s really not that bad to work with, even in the heat. It’s going to be a great layering piece all fall and winter long. Speaking of Valley Yarns patterns, all of our new fall patterns that will be featured in the next catalog, are already up on-line!
Well, I think that covers everything! Back to vacation!