Posts Tagged ‘TNNA San Diego’

Weaving in Some Loose Ends

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009
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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 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!


First Week Last Week

Monday, January 12th, 2009
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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:

Stay tuned! 


P.S.  So how is 2009 treating you so far?

Industry Housekeeping

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007
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Tomorrow is our annual “Big Game Event” at the store. From 12-4, we invite everyone to come and hang out, work on their latest project, plan a new one, bring their wheel and spin – whatever – just come and hang out with us! It’s always on of the best days of the year in terms of the vibe that is created. I love looking around and seeing everyone sprawled all over the store, talking, sharing, knitting, crocheting, spinning. . . . .I love that our regular drop-in ladies take over “their” space in the classroom with a groupie attitude – plus we have munchies! So Steve will hang with the boys and I’ll hang with all the WEBS peeps – very cool. Count on lots of pics tomorrow.

I have not been feeling well the past couple of days. Definitely fighting something off. We were suppose to be at a swanky black-tie thing tonight, but I knew I’d be sleeping on the crudite by 7:30, so we passed. Steve is off at a UMass hockey game with J1 and J2 is working on his new 1,075 piece Lego set that he bought with allowance and b’day cash (yes, the box is for 8-14, he’s 6 and doing just fine). I have some general industry info to pass along, so I thought this would be a good time.

So, first, some of you may have heard of Stitch N’ Pitch. It is a collaborative program between Major League Baseball (MLB) and The National Needlearts Association (TNNA) that brings together two American traditions — Baseball and the NeedleArts. Go to a ball game and knit, crochet, embroider, cross-stitch and needlepoint. Sit among friends, family and colleagues and cheer on your favorite Baseball Team. This event is for ANYONE who has an interest in the perfect double play — NeedleArts and Baseball; beginners, intermediate and experts are all welcome. (TNNA) and your Baseball Team are providing fun giveaways and surprises that are included with special Stitch N’ Pitch game tickets. By clicking on the link above, you will see all of the major league teams that have signed up for this event.

So, Steve and I were told at TNNA that our beloved Red Sox were participating this year. We were thrilled and a bit surprised – it’s not like they have trouble selling tickets. We had a complete program put together by the time we landed back home from San Diego, told the staff (who were even more thrilled than us) and we were ready to start rockin’ and rollin’, just needed the game date. Well, there isn’t one. It’s a no go. We are (insert really loud, screaming profanity here) unhappy with this development. But for those of you in an area that is having an event – GO!! Even if you don’t like baseball all that much – GO! This is a great opportunity to hang out with fellow stitchers and promote the joys of needlearts to those who have yet to discover it – plus you’ll be supporting your LYS who has worked INCREDIBLY hard to pull off the event. Plus, we’ll be sending special savings coupons and yarn to most of the games’ goodie bags!

Steve and I are not ones to wallow in what could’ve been – we’ve got a plan “B” in the works (trust me – there is always a plan B). Stay tuned for more info once we get a our proverbial ducks in a row.

Next up is the fight against breast cancer. As those of you who are regular shoppers know, this is a cause that is near and dear to us. We host our Breast Cancer Awareness Event every October and do what we can to financially support local efforts. TNNA has also embraced the cause on multiple levels. You can read about their efforts at the TNNA website. There is one program that I want to take a few moments to bring to your attention, which is One Pixel At A Time. The goals of this effort are as follows:

  • Raise awareness of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, a semi-postal stamp issued in 1998 by the United States Postal Service. To date, this stamp has raised over $50 million to support important research in the fight against breast cancer. Click here for more information about the stamp.
  • Raise funds for Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC), a national non-profit organization providing direct support to those whose lives have been affected by this far-reaching disease.
  • Expand the reach and impact of Stitch to WIN Against Breast Cancer, a country-wide, outreach program of The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA).

So, why am I telling you all about this? Because you can participate in this effort:

Play Stitch to WIN Against Breast Cancer!

As part of The National NeedleArts Association’s Stitch to WIN Against Breast Cancer Campaign, the Breast Cancer Research Stamp was recreated in each of the five hand needlearts. Play Stitch to WIN and add your stitches to the thousands of others who helped complete these wall hangings, presented to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, October 4, 2006.

  • Help support Living Beyond Breast Cancer — 80% of net proceeds benefit LBBC *.
  • Receive valuable, surprise gift coupons from over 40 sponsors
  • Receive a special discount coupon from and become eligible for a FREE spa vacation.
  • Discover the fun of the hand needlearts: knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch & embroidery. Register on
  • Receive a special discount coupon from and become eligible for a FREE spa vacation. Register here for your free coupon!
  • Discover the fun of the hand needlearts: knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch & embroidery.

* Living Beyond Breast Cancer receives 80% of net proceeds from the sale of the pixels (3 million total). “Net proceeds” refers to all money received minus hosting and processing fees.

How do you Play?

Go to the One Pixel At A Time website and help to complete the Breast CAncer Research Stamps by purchasing a Pixel – think of it as a stitch. When you get to the site, you can purchase 4 pixels for $20.00 – 80% of your dollars go to the organziation Living Beyond Breast Cancer. What is a pixel? Well, a pixel is a tiny square of color that, just like a stitch, in combination with thousands of others, creates a complete pattern or image on a screen.

Besides helping the fight against breast cancer and receiving all of the cool stuff mentioned above, there is a bit of WEBS pride involved! For every person that signs up as “WEBS”, Steve and I get a chance to win a free hotel stay at the next TNNA market in Columbus, OH this June. In all honesty, as nice as the free stay would be, I want the world to know what incredible customers we have – I want WEBS to win not for the prize, but because the issue is important. If you can, we ask that you go to the site and fill in your pixels. Together, one pixel, one stitch at a time, we truly can make a difference!

So there you have it – two great endeavors by our industry that we hope you will consider participating in.

Check in tomorrow for a BIG GAME EVENT Update and I hope to see you all there!


We’re Back!

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
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A bit confused on what time zone we’re actually in, but we’re back from TNNA San Diego. First off – it was COLD in San Diego. Okay, not as cold as it is here (yes, winter has arrived) but by Southern Cal standards. . . . I was not a happy camper. This is what I left as we headed out last week:

But reports on the weather are not what you are most interested in. The show itself was great! Steve and I were busy from start to finish, which is unusual. We purposely plan in some downtime for ourselves, but this year didn’t get as much as we had hoped.

Some highlights include getting to hear Kate Jacobs, author of the new novel “The Friday Night Knitting Club” speak twice and score an autographed copy. I’m not much into book signings usually, but there was something about her and this book that made me jump up to the front of the line. The book publishes tomorrow – we will be carrying it as will your local book store and of course the big chains. The story is about Georgia, yarn store owner and the women she comes to know in her Friday night knitting group and the trials and tribulations they endure. As you may have heard, the book has already been picked up by one of the studios and will be produced as a movie starring Julia Roberts. Originally scheduled for release in ’08, no word on how Julia’s pregnancy will alter filming, etc.

Saturday was spent in appointments with some of our larger vendors as well as mills who make our Valley Yarns – oh boy do we have some goodies in the works! We spent about 2 hours walking the floor at the end of the day. Blue Sky Alpaca has a few new cotton colors and alpaca silk colors that we ordered, as well as a yummy new handspun organic cotton – natural only, that we also ordered. Lantern Moon had some great new items – we were thrilled since we cleared out the bulk of the inventory we had on their old stuff during the Christmas sale. Highlights from them include new round drawstring boxes and really cool messenger bags, made in Cambodia by land mine survivors using a material from bags of fish food. The material reminds me of a sail on a sail boat – coated – and comes in bright colors with the original printing from the bags still on the fabric. Loved them! Southwest Trading was also a great stop – we added Tofutsies (and the crowd goes wild). For those of you not in the know, it’s their sock yarn that is made with among other things Critin. Yup, I said Critin – which comes from shrimp and crab shells. The yarn is killer. Then we previewed and ordered the new Vickie Howell collection – three yarns that SWTC is producing with/for her. They are winners – classic yarns, beautiful twists, with the alternative blends we expect from SWTC, including one containing milk fiber. The true highlight here was meeting Vickie – champagne glass in hand (read “hmmm, wonder where I can score me one of those”). She was charming and lovely and did not share her champagne, but revealed the source.

At the close of the show on Saturday, we moved upstairs to Interweave’s 10th Anniversary party. Each table featured a recent project in Interweave Knits and on one of the center tables, guess what we saw? A project from the most recent issue that used our own Valley Yarns Stockbridge – the excitement was almost too much for Steve & I – it was the FELTED BABY BOTTLE. The Interweave folks were thrilled we noticed. The party had good drinks and noshables, courtesy of the lovely Interweave folks. Steve and I set about working the room (hey, we’ve got this podcast thing going on and we need guests!). So, we met Clara Parkes, Amy Singer (sort of). I was so thrilled to see she was there I made one of the Interweave people take me over to introduce me and poor Amy was just trying to eat and had a mouth full of food and there I was saying “hi” and being all star-struck and excited and she was now almost choking and that’s when Clara jumped up to say hi. Steve stood by and just shook his head. . . . . . But I did much better with most of the other folks – remained composed and professional and all, until Annie Modesitt asked if I knew “Nicky” who happened to be sitting next to her. Now the room was dimly lit, it had been a long day, I was on wine #2 and I was obviously being an idiot and I said “no, I don’t know Nicky”. So Annie says – “Nicky, this is Kathy she owns WEBS and Kathy, this is Nicky EPSTEIN (I swear there were trumpets playing somewhere as the name echoed in my head). Now the funny part is that Nicky seemed almost as excited to meet Steve & I as we were to meet her! I am hopeful that our mutual admiration will help get WEBS on her schedule sometime before the boys graduate.

Sunday – busy, busy, busy. . . . where to watch the game, can we watch the game, there seem to still be tickets for game, will someone, anyone, PLEASE take Steve to the game – I’ll treat!!!! Our beloved Patriots were in San Diego for the playoffs. It nearly killed Steve to not go and not watch even a single second of the game. But from kick-off to the final buzzer, I had to steer him through the show as he was glued to the updates on his cell phone. Our progress slowed somewhat as we also had to continually zig zag between the booths where others interested in the score, but were required to work.

We managed to buy some cool new bags from Namaste, two new yarns from Fiesta (I love them – the yarns and Brad & Jeannie the owners), some closeouts from the usual suspects, new colors of Jade Sapphire’s 2-ply cashmere and Savannah DK from The Fibre Company. Tobias and Antonio from Malabrigo have some great new colors that we added as well as a new single ply, laceweight merino (oxygen masks will eject from your computer shortly). Plus they had some cute patterns to boot! Here’s our beloved Abigail on gorgeous handwoven throw given to us by Tobias during his visit to us in Baltimore at Stitches East. Some things meant for the store are just simply too beautiful. This was one of them.

Spent some time with the Interweave folks again (no free wine or munchies this time) talking about some marketing initiatives and then dinner with one of our fave vendors. We ended the night on our own, for a night cap and witnessed a well known industry person being escorted from the fine establishment we stopped into due to his/her poor behavior. You won’t get another word out of me – what happens in S.D. stays in S.D.

Monday we purchased a new silk/wool blend from Sheep Shop – Fonnie the owner has a homerun with this one. Misti had lots of new colors and gave us a sneak peek of what’s to come. At 2:30 I hit the wall – I could not talk to another person, look at another product, nothing. We went back to the Gaslamp District – the area just away from the bay that houses restaurants and shopping and bars and Petco Field where the Padres play. Had a beer, a burger and then we went and passed out for an hour or so (back in our hotel room, not on the sidewalk or anything). One last dinner with our dear friends from Berroco, packed up and sort of slept before our 6:30a.m. flight home.

Today kicked off with interviewing Stephanie Pearl McPhee. Yup, just a little ole chit chat with The Yarn Harlot for this week’s radio show. I was freaking out – although she was at the store last March and I spent a fair amount of time with her, she’s like a rock star! I think Steve and I did okay. . . .

So, I still owe you all the Berroco spring pics & run down. But I think this is more than ample for one day – especially one in which I am still not sure what day/time it is.


P.S. I finished the silly garter stitch polar/lurex scarf last night. Woohoo! That’s 2 F.O.’s in 2007 and it’s not even the end of January! I am on such a roll!