Posts Tagged ‘Stitches Midwest’

Stitches Midwest – The Recap

Thursday, August 28th, 2008
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Whew – what a show! We had such a great time at Midwest. Always so much fun to see our Midwest customers (and those of you who travelled even further). Thanks to everyone for making the weekend such a blast.

I thought I’d try a bit of a different twist in sharing Stitches with all of you. I did take a lot of pictures, some of which I will share with you, but first, I’d like to share this:

Yes, I know, probably not the safest video ever taken, but I was excited. I promised Steve I would not do this again.

We arrived at the convention center and here’s where things stood:

Finally, time to call it a show:

I have to interim sections that just don’t seem to be cooperating tonight including one great video of some of the Berroco garments. I am out of patience Blogger, so will leave you with these for tonight and the following questions. More tomorrow.

I’d love to know what you all think of the video. I promise (a) I will get better at it and (b) not include this many videos in any one post on a regular basis. I am excited. I’ve had this little Flip video cam ever since I saw Kim Werker with it – nearly a year ago. Not only is it adorable and super functional – it’s orange, which I love.

I do have some cool photos from the show as well, which I will discuss tomorrow!


Abandonment Issues

Monday, November 19th, 2007
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Hi Everyone – I am posting this message but I am not a happy camper. Blogger is not being friendly, it is deleting pictures and not letting me upload them again. I’ve spent over 2 1/2 hours on this post and just need to let it fly. Maybe Blogger and I will be able to work together in the morning, but for now, crappy formatting, missing pictures and all, I have to be done. Trust me, this blog will be migrating in the not-so-distant future. I am so done.
It’s been 41 days since my last post. Where have I been? What have I been doing? Am I okay? Have I abandoned the blog and all of you who read? The answers are “here”, “so much I cannot keep it all straight”, “yes, I am fine, tired, but fine” and “no, I have not abandoned the blog or you in any way”.
I know I last left you with a frenetic post that worried many of you. Thank you for caring and I’m sorry to have caused worried. I’ve been a bit bogged down with work/life. With each passing day, the blog became a bigger, more insurmountable mountain. How would I ever catch up? I had so many pictures on my camera it was like slogging through quicksand to download them all. There has been so much I’ve wanted to share that I know I will forget some things and people and acts of kindness, so I hope you will forgive me.
This post will bring us up-to-date and from here, I’ll be back on track. A picture is worth a thousand words and since I’ve spent the better part of 3 hours over the course of two sessions, organizing and arranging my photos, lets let the shots of the past few weeks speak for themselves.
So, I last left you on my way to Stitches East. What.A.Show. We had a blast.
We arrived to the daunting task of set-up:
We were tourists at the Harbor:

We found this sentiment, so appropos:

We finished and were ready to go when the show opened:

Which made these lovely, “First In Line At Stitches East” shoppers VERY happy:

We met fellow Ravelers, which was awesome! Meliabella gave out pink and green ribbons and we had so much fun meeting everyone:

We had an appearance from Kaffe:

And Teva Durham, too, but I never got to take a picture!

We had young shoppers:

And many adult beverages while cheering on our beloved Red Sox:

We had a marathon outside our hotel window on Saturday morning:

And marathoners shopping with us later that afternoon!

As we all stood in awe, they explained that they had “ONLY’ run the “HALF” marathon. Yeah, whatever ladies, you rock way more than you give yourselves credit for.

We made new BFF’s – meet Kaci and Debbie of Blue Moon:

(I have totally forgotten your friend’s name – I am so, so, sorry. . . . .) Debbie and Kaci are the type of people you want as your neighbors – they are fun, they make you laugh, they say nice things about your children, I mean, our yarn and they sit and knit in a bar, cheering for our Red Sox and ordering wine by the bottle. Yeah, we’re going to be spending some serious time with Deb & Kaci at future shows (see you in Santa Clara – let’s plan dinner!).

So, we are now a whole 4 days after my last post. Yeah, that’s all. I haven’t even thanked the most fabulous lady (again, another name lost) who stopped by the booth on Saturday morning with these, these. . .cookies – vanilla wafers – BIG ones, dunked in chocolate – thick, rich chocolate. She read the last post and was worried about me and figured I needed chocolate. The cookies are a Baltimore specialty, they were a lifesaver!

Then there was the lovely lady who brought me a dollar bill folded into the shape of a dinosaur. I carry it with me every day. Thank you.

I left East early to fly home on Sunday morning for Kim Werker’s book launch. The timeline was incredibly tight. The event started at 2pm and I landed about 1pm, with a 45 minute drive, luggage to get, shuttle to the parking area, etc. I made it to WEBS at just minutes past 2 – they all waited for me and I was so grateful. (And yes, I probably stretched the boundaries of the speed limit on the way) I was beyond excited and honored to be hosting this event.

Kim’s husband Greg was able to be there, along with a dear friend and many family members. It was an awesome afternoon:

I learned some great things and just simply enjoyed Kim and her energy.

And Babette was there too!!!

It was utopia for this crochet-lover. If you haven’t checked out her book yet, Crochet Revolution, make sure it is on your holiday list. It’s a must have!

Okay, we’re now a full 5 days past my last post. We’re cookin’ now!

So, the next day Steve & I dragged ourselves into work to start buying for Spring ’08! Our lovely Rowan rep Jess was quite accomodating given how tired we were. She brought her adorable pug who hung out with us:

Too cute!

Then, it was off to Berroco to see their Spring collection. It was our first visit there and so much fun to be able to see all of the new garments that Norah and Margery designed. It was a great day and very inspiring – it’s going to be a fun spring for all of the knitters and crocheters!


Here is the office that Norah and Margery share with their assistant Deana. Yes, this is where the magic happens:

As the mayhem continued, it was refreshing to get a reality check from none other than our 6 year old (almost 7) Jonathan. We were home alone, I was working and he was playing outside. Suddenly, he comes screaming in the house “MOM, IT’S THE HARVEST MOON. YOU HAVE TO COME SEE IT RIGHT NOW. OUTSIDE!” Here is what I saw:

The picture doesn’t even do it justice. I was so thrilled that he was so thrilled by it and that he made me stop and appreciate the simple beauty of it. I know I am biased but he’s a pretty magical kid. It was an awesome moment.

Next up, our annual “Knit for Hope” event. We partner each year with a local non-profit that provides services, support and hope for folks dealing with cancer. We ran it on a Friday night this year and although we had a smaller turnout than usual, it was still an extremely moving evening. I think the smaller gathering actually made it more personal and intimate. We knit scarves for patients going through chemo/radiation and attendees shared their stories of survival. Gail Callahan, our Kangaroo Dyer, created a custom color of Franklin (our sock yarn) which we sold throughout the month and donated all of the profits to Cancer Connection.

Next up was Halloween. Since I have shared pictures of Steve here that he has, at times, not been thrilled about, I have to share one of me. I give you, my really bad channeling of Chrissy Hynde:

And our very handsome trick or treaters in their respective hockey and Red Sox attire:

As you know, Jackson is playing hockey and Jonathan is now very motivated to keep up. Here we are at the first practice, at O-WAY-TOO-EARLY-FOR-ME-TO-BE-UP-MUCH-LESS-AT-A-RINK:


He started this session off using a “bucket” and after about 30 mins, pushed it away and made up his mind to just figure this skating thing out. He’s coming along. . . .

There was another “don’t go so fast and let life pass you by moments”. Behold, what I saw off of my deck one Saturday evening when Steve and the boys were off to a UMass hockey game.


I have seen some incredible sunrises and sunsets in my life, but this was, well, beyond words.

Finally, we are nearly current. I leave you with scenes from last week – the last days before Thanksgiving break for the boys. We had plays, back to back. First up, Jonathan in The Judge:


Featuring Jackson as the monster:

Then, it was Jackson in “Compost Happens – The Sequel” (they’ve been studying the environment):


It’s great when you have a captivated audience:


That’s it folks. The last 6 weeks in a nutshell. You can’t say I wasn’t thinking of you – I did all of the photo-documentation, it’s just been the sitting and blogging itself.

Thanks again for sticking with me.


(Note #2: Came back today and Blogger let me upload the pictures it refused to upload last night. I will look into Flickr to see if that works better for me. I am seriously still considering migrating. . . .but I’ve been around long enough to know the grass is not always greener with a different platform).


Time Warps and Weirdness

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007
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I’ve got a whole hodge podge of things to get to and time is short.

I leave for Stitches in the a.m. and to say I am unprepared would be, well. . . an understatement. I have no idea how it got to be October 9th. Seriously. I am still somewhere in early August. I haven’t even made it to Stitches Midwest yet, but the calendar says October and my calendar says I’m to go to the airport tomorrow to fly to Baltimore for East. Okay, I’ll do as the calendar says, but I swear, it’s truly only early August.

So first, I must post, Pixie’s finished Duster (cue the trumpets, please):

It is “dahling” as I would say with my Boston accent, which I don’t let out very often, but every now and again 🙂 Really, it is exquisite – for all of the ribbing we give Pixie for her pickiness about which increases to use, which seaming technique is best, well, the garment speaks for itself and her skills. I know you can’t see the detail and I’m sorry I didn’t take close-ups of some of the points she’s made in the podcast. Remember that speed/calendar problem I’m dealing with? I’ll see what I can do when I get back. For those of you coming to Baltimore, it will be there, on display. Come see it, try it on, fall in love with the Tilted Duster. Mine is coming too! It’s just not quite as, how can I say this. . . finished?? Yeah, that’s it. But it’s coming along. Anyone interested, just ask 🙂 Remember, if I can make this, so can you! We’ll have lots of Peruvia on hand or our Berkshire if you want to substitute.

On the podcast today (which we recorded without Steve which was another totally weird part of today. Seriously, my timing was completely off, I felt completely out of sorts, it was just plain weird. Never again.) Pixie discussed the shoulder seaming and her preferred technique (okay, let’s all quietly giggle at Pixie and her “preferred/better than the rest way” but we must all acknowledge that darn it, she’s right). Here is the the two swatches she references:

So listen on Saturday or download the episode when you can (available also Saturday) and you now have the visual to go with it.

Okay, now it’s time for some yarn love. Alpaca Sox from Classic Elite came in during the deluge and although we talked about it on the show, I never quite got it on the blog. So here it is:

Love this yarn. Now, it’s not machine washable and I know this will be an issue for some of you. I get it. But the yarn is yummy, the colors outstanding. Here are my two favorite:

And yes, I did write down what they were when I took this picture last week and do you think that scrap of paper is anywhere to be found? Oh, we’ve got a winner folks! Gold Star to the reader from Oregon who just blurted out “Heck no, you are in some weird time warp, you are trying to get out of town, your behind schedule, the kids are cranky because you are leaving again and not being very cooperative and that piece of paper is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND”. The reader is correct and I am sorry. I will try to figure it out and edit somewhere down the road. (NOTE: Betsy, et al at Classic Elite, if you can add a comment with the colors, I will be forever indebted).

So, here it is, 7:15pm. I’m blogging and trying to get the boys ready for bed and get their KBAR done (Kick Back And Read), which I have asked Jackson to handle and read to Jonathan to kill two birds with one stone and I’ve got laundry going which I pray is almost dry or else, well, someone in this family is going to be short some important garments in the next few days and I have sweater models that HAVE TO FIT IN MY SUITCASE which I am not at all confident is going to happen, even if I do only bring two pairs of pants for the entire show, which is so completely not how I pack, but I digress. It’s 7:15 and the phone rings – the forward progess of all of the above comes to a halt. I go to get the phone and think “If this is Steve calling to check in, during what he KNOWS is the insane time of the day on a regular day, much less a day when we’re down to one parent who has to travel in the a.m., I swear I’m going to snap. I pick up the phone and on the other end I hear “Hi Honey, how’s it going?” All cheerful and kid free and adult-dinnered and probably adult-beveraged with no laundry worries or packing issues or anything. Yup, it’s Steve. I ask if his watch is broken or lost, he says no. I ask if he went somewhere else besides Baltimore that included a time change and he again says no. I then say “I’ll call you back”. He’s not happy but since he is getting adult-dinnered and beveraged, I trump him.

So, the only other quirky part of the day happend about 15 minutes before I was leaving to record said show “alone” with Pixie. My office phone rings and I answer “Hi, this is Kathy” and on the other end of the phone a voice, a familiar voice, says “Hi, it’s Stephanie. Please don’t fling yourself off the roof of your building because I haven’t receive my yarn”. Now, there was more to it than that, but you get the gist. Guesses, guesses, any guesses? It was the Harlot, who is oh so patiently waiting for an order (not just any order, but you’ll need to keep up with her blog for all of the details on that – I’m short on time, remember?) that still has not arrived. Seriously, I can get yarn to the lovely Amanda and Sasha in Australia faster than I can get it to Toronto. I posted on her blog about the flinging myself off our building and skipping Stitches to drive the yarn to her. She was kind enough to call and tell me not to waste my time, not because she didn’t appreciate my valiant efforts but, any ideas why she would take the time to do this? How’s about because she’s a nice person? Well, she is very nice, but no, that was not the reason. Maybe she decided she doesn’t really like the yarn but will accept the order when it arrives? Nope, not that. Still in lust with the yarn. No, she was nice enough to call and tell me this: we (WEBS) simply do not have any more of the yarn. It’s gone. All gone. So, if the package, two weeks in transit does not arrive (note: she says this amount of time is still reasonable for US/Canada deliveries), the package containing her “reward yarn” for finishing her book, I cannot do a thing to fix it. There is no more yarn. Yeah, I’m so stoked at this point in the conversation I can barely stand it. Now, later in the day, I think I was thrown a life preserver, but I’m keeping that under wraps until I truly need it. You know who you are – for your safety and my sanity, please stay quiet 🙂

Okay, that’s it. KBAR is over. Steve deserves to say goodnight to his boys so I need to call him back and I need to put in the links, add the pics, finish the laundry, pack and get out of Dodge. See you all in Baltimore.

P.S. It’s 8pm, later than usual for bedtime, but they’re done, this post is about to be posted, Steve and the boys connected and I THINK my laundry is dry. Woohoo!

Wine, Yarn and Song!

Monday, October 8th, 2007
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Not necessarily in that order, but you’ll get the idea.
This past weekend was busy as usual, but there were a few wonderful highlights. First off, on Saturday, the Grand Opening of Pioneer Valley Vineyard finally arrived.

I do love a nice wine, but the opening of this winery was extra special because it is owned and operated by our Linda B., our faboo Customer Service Manager. This is an endeavor that has been three long years in the works (much more if you include all of the planning and such) for her and her family and every bit of effort paid off. The vineyard is beautiful:
The winery and tasting room themselves are lovely and the wine, well the wine is awesome. Steve and I tasted all of the offerings and bought a bottle of each of our favorites:

Raspberry, Cranberry, Blueberry and a white grape called Cayuga. The Apple wine was good, but not quite us. I was actually quite surprised at had good these wines are since I tend to not ususally be a fan of fruity-tuity wines, but these won me over. Maybe we need to institute free-wine Fridays at WEBS, rather than free-lunch Fridays! Probably not, I don’t think our mail order customers would appreciate us picking and packing their orders under the influence 🙂
My favorite picture from the event has to be this one though:

I love the role reversal of Linda running the register and WE”RE checking out 🙂
We kicked off the weekend with Parent’s Day at the boys’ school on Friday. We saw adorable performances

Ate special treats

and battled it out in the parents vs kids soccer game. The kids won, of course. Fun was had by all.
As I eluded to in my last post (at least I think I did), Gail Callahan, our own Kangaroo Dyer has created a limited edition “Pink” colorway in our Franklin Sock Yarn. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and knowing so many people who have been touched in one way or another by this disease, we wanted to do something extra this year. The proceeds from the sale of this yarn will be donated to our The Cancer Connection, right in Northampton. If we sell out of this first batch, Gail is up for dyeing more, but when the month is over it will be gone until next year. The yarn is available on-line and in the store.

When Gail was in last week, she had her latest dyeing creating with her. She is a nut when it comes to playing with color and she particularly likes to practice by over-dyeing the not so pretty leftovers from some of our closeouts. This little treasure had to come home with me:

It’s formally a skein of angora that was a not-so-great-purple. I am not usually a fan of angora, but I fell for the gorgeous colors, the sweet fluffiness of it all. It’s a small little bit, but I think I can create a pair of wristlets for myself. Or I may just keep it as it is. All I know is it makes me smile everytime I spy it in the basket in my home office. If you want to score some of this for yourself or see some of Gail’s other amazing yarns, be sure to visit her at the Franklin County Fiber Twist in Old Deerfield, MA on October 27 & 28.
Oh and don’t forget. Stitches East is this week in Baltimore! We’ll be in booths 313-317 & 412-416 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Kaffe Fassett will be signing books in our booth on Thursday night and on Friday, Teva Durham will be with us to showcase her new yarn line, Loop-D-Loop and sign her pattern books.
Tomorrow I’ll finally post Pixie’s darling Tilted Duster and I also want to give some love to a new sock yarn that came in during the avalanche and somehow didn’t get shown any love here on the blog and it’s one I do truly adore.

Back from a Deserted Island

Monday, October 1st, 2007
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No post since last week because Steve and I snuck off for a few days of R&R – alone! No work (well, there was some, there’s always some) and no kids. Although we travel together for business frequently and have our standard “family” getaways, we realized last year that we never really get away just for ourselves. We promised we’d do our best to change that and for the second year in a row we have succeeded.
We are pretty easy to please – Steve’s only request is golf and mine is warmth. They pretty much go hand in hand. We took our chances in Florida and our gamble paid off (it is hurricane season you know). Five glorious days of golf, pool and food. Here’s where Steve spent the majority of his time:

And here we are:

I’ll spare you all the poolside photos.
The beauty of this trip was that because it is hurricane season, the resort we stayed at was blissfully empty for the majority of our stay. It was if we had the place to ourselves, which I have to say was really, really nice. Not quite a deserted island, but pretty close.
So here we are, October 1st and we’re ready to roll! We’ve only got a week until Stitches East! Are any of you planning to attend? Be sure to stop by and at least say “Hi” and check out the great yarns we are bringing. Of course our own Valley Yarns will be center stage, with all of the garments from the fall catalog on display and many of the newest of the new to be featured in our holiday catalog as well. Those of you at the show will be the first to see them! Also, this will be the “show” debut for Sheffield and Williamstown.
Pixie’s Titled Duster will be on display (mine will still be a WIP). Andra from Berroco will be there as always with lots of great garments and plenty of Peruvia for those of you interested in starting the duster or another project. Of course, all of the other great Berroco yarns will be there as well.
Thursday night, October 11th will be extra special. We will be hosting Kaffe Fassett in our booth. He’ll be there to meet and greet, sign his new book, talk about his great new sock yarns and all things knitting.
Will also be bringing along the Teva Durham collection of yarns and she will be in our booth throughout the weekend (more specific times to follow). We’ll have many of the garments from the pattern book on display so be sure to check those out as well.
Then, of course, there will be closeouts and amazing special buys. Steve has been working OT to get the best of the best stuff available and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Shop early for best selection!
The specifics for the show are as follows:
Stitches East
Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD
October 11-14, 2007
Thurs: 7pm-10pm (this is the market night for students only)
Fri & Sat: 10am-6pm
Sun: 10am-4pm
We’re in booths 311-317 and 410-416
There are still classes with openings so if you are thinking of coming to shop, consider a class as well.
It is October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We will be holding our annual Knit for Hope event on Friday evening, October 26th from 6-9pm. Additionally, Gail Callahan, our very own Kangaroo Dyer has created a custom “October Pink” colorway in our Franklin sock yarn just for this month. It is limited quantity and only available during the month of October or while supplies last. We will be donating the proceeds of the sale of each skein to our local Cancer Connection to support all of the wonderful programs they provide. More to follow on this, pictures, etc. Watch the blog and the website on Thursday.