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!
I’m just back from Stitches and about to crawl into bed. I wanted to make a quick blog post to say a great big THANK YOU to everyone who visited our booth. It was an absolute blast seeing old friends and making lots of new ones. I’ll have a complete wrap up with some pictures and such in the next day or so. I took some video which I am hoping to be able to add as well!
Thanks again to everyone for making the trip so much fun for all of us!
Thanks to everyone who emailed and shared in the excitement of the upcoming Harlot event. I’ve made the registration link live on the previous post. Just remember – if you are registering a group of folks, we need everyone’s name and contact info. There are lots of details to still be coordinated and we want everyone to be kept in the loop.
In the excitement of all things Harlot, I completely forgot to post pictures from our event with Wenlan. This was one of those events that we knew would be fun and not overwhelming, but we had no idea how AWESOME it really would be. For those of you who missed it – shame on you! It was simply one of the loveliest events. Wenlan was charming and funny and entertaining and very informative about her life as a fashion designer. We learned a lot about her view of garment construction and saw how beautiful her garments are when worn. Most importantly – how beautiful they are on different body types! Here are a few pics:
The ultimate star of the day has to go to Milan:
She wouldn’t pose for me, but for Jackson and Jonathan she was workin’ it! Thanks to our friends at Classic Elite for making this event happen and to Wenlan for making the trip up from NYC.
That’s it for events for awhile – at least in-store. Next up for us is Stitches West! The show is this weekend, February 22-24 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Show hours are 10-6 Friday & Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. If you are already registered, there is a special shopping night on Thursday from 7-10pm. We will be in booths 701-709 and 800-809. That’s 10 booths full of yarn, garments and lots of fun and inspiration. We’ve got 14 folks in tow with us – the biggest contigent we’ve ever brought west. Be sure to stop by, say “hi” and stock up on yarn at incredible savings! We’re especially excited to be brining our own Valley Yarns with us again, including our brand new Colrain Laceweight. We’ll have most of our garments with us as well.
Lastly, we took a quick weekend trip up to Maine with the boys. It was part business and part family escape. It’s been so crazy here that we just felt like we needed to hang with the kids before taking off to California. What’s wonderful about what we do is that no matter where we go, there are knitters:
This wasn’t the only sighting we had, but the only one I was able to capture.
Okay, so as promised am I beginning to catch the blog up on the zillions of things that have been happening. First off, after I posted last night I went to check out any new comments. That’s when I noticed I had not posted since March 2nd!!! I am so sorry! Where in the world did the month of March go to??
As I write this blog, I am listening to my friend Guido’s podcast www.itsapurlman.com. He went to NYC to represent at the Harlot event on Thursday and his latest episode is all about the day. Further comments on that day (which I missed because we were in Florida) in a later post. I told you there was a lot to catch up on.
So, the question has been posed, “Do blondes have more fun”. For those of you who read regularly, you know that we had a challenge put out for Stitches West. We always have a sales goal when we go to shows, but this year, we also had our “stretch” goal or “there’s no way we could do X” number. The deal was, that if we reached the “No Way” goal, Steve would dye his hair blonde. Now for those of you who know Steve, he has VERY dark hair, so this was something that was going to be pretty dramatic.
Needless to say, we fell, just a tad short of our “No Way”, but we came SO CLOSE!! So, we came to a compromise – Steve would get highlights. Now, I’m not one to fight mother nature at every possible turn, but I know my limits and always seek professional assistance. I have never used an at-home hair coloring/highlighting kit.
We had the kit as soon as we got home from the show, but we only had about three weeks at home between West and vacation – life was crazy. Just before we left we had a staff meeting and decided the night before that Steve had to take the plunge. I think everyone had pretty much given up that he would actually let me do anything to his hair.
Now I have to say, the name of the kit was so ridiculous. It was a kit specificially FOR MEN:
I have a hard time believing that a “woman’s” kit would have instructions “before you move a muscle”. Maybe I’m wrong, but seems unlikely.
Ready to go:
It was a pretty funny scene at our house. Kids in bed, me coloring Steve’s hair and grilling dinner out on the deck at the same time. He was a great sport, even when the grill ran out of gas (no worries, we always have a back up tank). I can take the empty tank off, but I cannot, for the life of me, reattach the full tank, so there was Steve, highlight goop in his hair, no shirt on (he did put on a coat) on the deck attaching the tank to the grill for me. He refused to let me photograph that moment, but I do have some photos to share.
Here’s Steve “in process”.
By the time he was “done”, Steve was “done” for the night. Here he is the following morning, post Staff Meeting:
Yes, he turned more copper-ish than blonde, but after 30 minutes, even I was starting to get a little nervous. He did get a hair cut just before we left for Florida and the gal who cuts his hair had a minor meltdown when she saw his hair. She put in a bit of toner to calm it down, but the wonderful Florida sunshine has enhance the highlights once again.
So, kudos to Steve for being a trooper, many thanks to our staff at WEST for working so hard to almost hit the “No Way” number and most importantly THANK YOU to our faboo West Coast customers.
I’m sorry this post took so long, I know many of you have been waiting and had lost faith, but I promise to be back on my blogging game from here on out!
Stitches West was definitely wild! Getting there and back was – frustrating. My trip out turned into a 22 hour odyssey, while Steve and Nick spent a lovely evening together in Minneapolis on the way home. Did you know when you have to stay overnight due to missing the last connection of the night, your luggage doesn’t get to go with you?
But everything in between was awesome. We had so much fun seeing all of our fabulous West Coast customers and meeting so many new ones. Now, I am sure you are all anxiously awaiting a few pictures, right? I mean, that’s part of the fun of reading blogs – seeing pictures of bloggers knitting, travels, tradeshows, etc. Yeah, well, that’s what you’d be seeing right about now, except for one tiny little problem. No, no, I did not forget my camera, but I DID forget the memory chip. Left it here in my picture printer. Yup, I was about as thrilled as all of you are right now. So unfortunately, there will be no photos of our amazing booth or the line that stretched the length of it and around the corner on Saturday. No shots of some of the really cool projects that we saw or the fabulous people we saw. Nope, nothing.
But there will be a lovely picture of Steve in a day or two with a slighly new look Stay tuned and thank you West Coast shoppers!
The one picture I am so unhappy I couldn’t take was that of the Blue Moon booth on Sunday. It was practically empty – there was barely a skein of yarn left. Cirilia and Sarah were shopping in their booth on Saturday just before the show opened and were nearly trampled when the doors opened and throngs of knitters stampeded to the Blue Moon booth. I am in awe of the power of the sock. . . . especially Socks that Rock. Simply amazing.
We had a faboo dinner with Jonelle, Joe and Kat from SWTC on Saturday night. I even scored a copy of Jonelle’s new book – Purls Forever. It’s part pattern book, part story book. Jonelle talks about her family and their passion for knitting and crocheting, as well as each other. The patterns are based on heirloom pieces passed down in Jonelle’s family for generations and have been recreated in SWTC yarns. If you are a fan of SWTC, you will love this book, if you aren’t already, you will be!
A quick apology to everyone who listens to the podcast. We were given the wrong disk last week. It has been fixed and the latest show featuring my interview with Ann Hood is now available to download. This week, we are talking to Betsy Perry, V.P. of Sales & Marketing for Classic Elite Yarns. Thanks to everyone who came by the booth and complimented us on the podcast. We were a bit overwhelmed by how many people are actually listening to the show and reading this blog!
Even though I don’t have pictures from the show, I DO have pictures of some of the goodies I brought back. My first stop was of course, the Brooks Farm booth. Love, love, love them. I picked up three skeins of Riata in this lovely colorway. I am going to use it for a 2nd top down sweater (guess I need to get that first one going).
Next, I scored this cool bag. All handmade. I love it. the lining has a drawstring closure, comparable to the Lantern Moon drawstring boxes. This covers and protects the contents of the bag. I just love the colors. Picked one up for Linda our customer service manager in bright oranges and pinks.
Then it was onto the California Cashmere Company booth. It was a small little booth that instantly blocked out the insanity of the show floor. They had relaxing music playing, a nice oriental rug on the floor and the most beautiful, domestic cashmere yarn, finished garments and kits. All were packaged beautifully. I indulged myself with two skeins of the 4-ply in black. Kirsten and Mary in Customer Service each got a skein of the 2-ply, which should be enough for a scarf.
All of these folks work hard getting us ready for the show, so I always like to try to bring home a few thank you gifts for them. The picture doesn’t do the yarn justice. Just trust me when I say it is incredible!
I do have a one more funny story to add, that builds on my last post. One of the other vendors who we are friendly with called today. He said that as he was going through security at the San Jose airport, he was stopped and questioned about the large amount of cash he was carrying. He explained that he was a consumer tradeshow and the security people (and now San Jose police) asked what kind of show? He said a knitting show. They said “WHAT??????” and then proceeded to interrogate him further and run a check to see if he had any outstanding warrants – unbelievable.
Lastly, in all of my airport and airplane time, I was able to finish knitting another Vermont Felted Bag, but this time in solids. I still need to knit the handles and sew the bag together and then felt it, but the major work is done. I am quite pleased with the colors and can’t wait to see how it looks once it is felted. I had quite a few people ask me what I was making and most were very perplexed by the concept of felting.
I’ve cast-on for the next Ready, Set, Knit! knitalong which is going to be a top-down sweater. I’ve never knit a top-down sweater, but I am fairly confident in the pattern. I’m using Noro Silk Garden in this beautiful colorway.
I just need to get a good head start since I am not the fastest knitter on the planet. Plus my reward will not only be a new sweater for myself, but I will then allow myself to knit the new cashmere!