Thursday, August 23, 2007

Guess What I'm Doing?

I know, a bit behind once again on the posts. The end of last week was crazy as usual and we took off first thing on Monday morning to head out on the last great escape of the summer. Back to Cape Cod, this time with my sister. Her boss has a lovely home in Eastham that we stay at, just down the road from a lovely bayside beach. For those of you unfamiliar with the geopgraphy of Cape Cod, it's the hook off the eastern end of Massachusetts. So one side has beaches that are exposed directly to the Atlantic, most of them part of the National Seashore and simply breathtaking. Nothing like the raw beauty of the waves and such of the Atlantic.

The otherside has equally lovely beaches, but rather than being directly on the open ocean, they access Cape Cod Bay. They are quite serene and peaceful and perfect for families with small children. The water is warmer, small little waves and at lowtide, you can walk out forever. Lots of little tidal pools are created and they are great for exploring.

Yesterday, Jackson and I took a walk out (sans camera of course) and witnessed one seagull with a crab in his beak, another digging one out the sand in one of the shallow tidal pools and a third munching away on what appeared to be a delicious crab lunch. Gotta love seagulls with good taste.

What has been the highlight of the trip been for the kids you ask? This:

And this:

Whether it's been at the beach, at the beach house or in our own backyard, it has been the summer of baseball for these two.

What has been great about this trip for me is this:

I have actually been knitting and actually making progress on a project. It's for the next knitalong on the podcast and I am very excited about the sweater and how much I've accomplished. I've been feeling a bit defeated by our knitalongs lately. Not because I haven't liked the projects, but I just can't ever seem to finish. Either life gets in the way or I get distracted by something else. Pixie is so good and diligent and keeps it all on track and I am forever behind. But I am extra motivated by the next knitalong which starts up in a couple of weeks. What is the garment you ask? It's this:

The Tilted Duster from Interweave Knits Fall 07 issue. It was designed by Norah Gaughan, so you know it's going to be intriguing. Norah will be joining us on the podcast to kick off the knitalong and she'll be making an appearance at the store on Wednesday, September 12th from 5pm-7pm. We'll talk more about the knitalong, present the Berroco fall line and trunk show of the garments. So you see, I am under even more pressure to complete this project. What am I going to say "Oh, hi Norah, love the design, thanks for coming on the show, but geez, I've just been too darn busy to knit your awesome pattern". Uh, no, that is not going to fly. So I am knitting like crazy. Fortunately, I love Peruvia from Berroco and have since the first sneak peek I saw of it many moons ago. It knits like a dream and up on a #10 goes FAST! The pattern itself is ingenious of course and I like how it's done in pieces - they are like small little rewards. I am hoping to have sleeve #1 done by the time we get home tomorrow and sleeve #2 done by early next week. I've already completed the back and two front pieces. The skirt itself will be time consuming, so I need to keep making forward progress.

Of course, my sock is still calling me (and my Jonathan is asking if they will be ready for the first day of school - my response - "oh honey, it's going to be much too WARM for socks on the first day of school. Let's hope we don't have an early frost this year).

My crocheted "Not Just an Apron" is in the mix too. It has been frogged and I've been working on it periodically - I am still angry with it though.

Then there's this:

Also from Interweave Knits fall issue. Both Cirilia and Melissa are well underway with this project and it is talking to me as well. But it has to wait - take a number oh lovely Minimalist Cardigan.

The boys should be back from mini golf any time now, so I better get this posted. Not sure if today is going to pan out to be a beach day, but it certainly is going to be a great knitting day. We head for home in a couple of days, the kids will be back in school in just two short weeks. . . . where has the summer gone? At least we've got some great memories:


P.S. Also, check out the Snowflake Hat also in this issue of IK. It's an adorable design and uses our lovely Florence from our Valley Yarns collection.

P.P.S. In case you haven't read between the blog-lines, this issue of Interweave Knits is VERY good, IMHO. If you haven't picked up a copy, stop into your LYS and check it out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy You

We're back from Stitches Midwest - what a great show we had! It was so much fun seeing old friends and putting faces to names with our on-line customers. Thanks for all of the lovely comments about our podcast and blog. Even though I see the stats each week for both, it doesn't seem "real" until I'm out and about somewhere like a tradeshow and you all start commenting! I guess you are really reading and listening! Thanks to everyone who shopped with us and endured the rather lengthy line on Friday and Saturday. Steve and I were ringing as fast as we could, unfortunately, our new wireless credit card machine was not nearly as fast as we were. We very much appreciate all of the kind words about our staff. They truly are awesome! Thanks to Andra, Karen, Jenna and Petey - you guys rock!

As crazy as Stitches was, we were very much overshadowed by this:

And sightings like this:

Wizard World drew 70,000 people! Those lines are at 8:00 in the morning and the show didn't even open until 10! Really, the pictures don't even do the scene justice.

For anyone who has ever worked a tradeshow, it is not easy work. In fact, it is exhausting. One rule we have when we travel to tradeshows is that we always eat well. Friday night is always protein night (read - "manly" steakhouse). We enjoyed a faboo meal at Gibson's in Rosemont. The wonderful Kristo took great care of us and even plated our over-the-top dessert right at the table.

What was truly fun about this restaurant is how they celebrate birthdays. A group of waiters will gather around the table of the celebrant, do a quick little chant and then yell, "Happy You!". It's a bit startling at first because (a) you're in a rather classy joint and suddenly people are yelling and (b) since most of the waiters are men, their voices combined are quite booming and (c) you are not quite sure what they actually said, at least from a distance.

Of course, I did manage a wee bit of shopping. First stop - can you guess? Of course, it was Brooks Farm. I was so happy to see them, especially after the disappointment at TKGA. I scored a skein of Macero and Duet for myself, plus two skeins of their lambswool/alpaca blend:

I also purchased a skein of this:

300 delicious yards of Polwarth Wool and Cultivated Silk from Rovings. This yarn is yumm-ee.

I also scored a pair of needles from a new vendor called Signature Needle Arts. They have a line of needles, all straights for now, that come in your choice of three different lengths, three different points and three different tops. Mine will be here in a couple of weeks and I'll blog more about them then. One key thing to note, they are made in the U.S.A.

Happy, happy me.

One other Stitches note, if you happen to live in the Charlottesville, VA area and are familiar (or not) with the Needle Lady, be sure to stop in and doing some shopping. She was extremely kind and helped us out of a difficult situation on Sunday morning. I know nothing about her shop, but her act of kindness will not soon be forgotten and if she's this nice to the competition, I can only imagine how great she must be with her customers.

There are lots of new yarns and such to catch up on at the store. I'll try to get some pictures taken tomorrow. Be sure to keep an eye on the website for new additions in yarns and books. Also, the fall class schedule has been posted - register early! Oh and best I not forget to mention the Summer Sale. Steve would NOT be happy with me :)


Friday, August 10, 2007

All Rosey

So I've been outed. We ARE in Rosemont, IL at Stitches Midwest. Now, it's not like I was super secretive, but that water tower was just too tempting.

For those of coming to the show this weekend, you may also be interested in this:

We really have no idea what this show is about, but it makes things interesting. Here's our home for the weekend:

Set-up went better than any other set-up. In fact, we were all done yesterday by noon and we all got a little down time. This NEVER happens. As indulgent as the free time sounds, we were all pretty anxious to get the ball rollling. We had a great night - the shoppers came and shopped. We saw old friends and made lots of new ones. It always amazes me how many people travel from great distances to attend these shows. My favorite of the night were the "Knit Happens" ladies, who live just outside of Buffalo. The are a group of friends who are on a knitting roadtrip for the weekend. How awesome is that?!

The best news of the show (in my opinion) is that our friends from Brooks Farm are here! Woohoo for me! I've already cruised their booth and trust me, much shopping will be done.

Time to go sell the yarn.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Guess Where I Am?

Hey, I am all caught up on posts. Sorry about that everyone. Hopefully I'll be able to share more with you from this week's venue :)


Friday, August 3, 2007

Time Out

NOTE: The second of two previously started posts. This one from August 3rd. Gosh, what have I been doing??

I am not sure how it got to be Friday already, but it is. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. It has been a bit of a blur and my apologies for lack of a post.

We played hooky last Friday and spent the weekend at the Cape with friends. We had a great time and I ate my share of fried clams, lobster, steamers and such. Didn't quite squeeze in the lobster roll, but there's always next time. Needless to say, getting back in the groove was a tad bit difficult on Monday morning. Here's a couple of my favorite snapshots from the weekend.

If you have never been to Cape Cod, I highly recommend it. It's beautiful and each town along Route 6 which brings you all of the way out the "hook" to Provincetown has it's own personality and charm. Plus, there is nothing like the National Seashore. As you can tell from the pictures, our day at the beach wasn't the best, but the kids didn't care. The water temp was a chilly 59 degrees, but even with the overcast skies and the fog that rolled in and out, it was still a wonderful time and just great to be away.

Okay, back to the business of yarn. There was a lot of yarn arriving this week. At one point I think we had to send in rescuers to dig Sharlene, our receiver, out of the piles!

I'm going to run through some highlights and link to whatever I can - not sure where we are in getting things up on the web. I have some pictures, but I don't have everything.

Southwest Trading Yin and Yang are now in. Yin is a 60 wool/20 silk/20 bamboo blend that knits at 5 sts = 1" on a #6 and retails for $11.00. This yarns just feels luxurious and the colors are spot on. It's mate, Yang is a personal favorite. Those of you who know me know, I love sparkle. Steve is often skittish buying sparkly yarns, but this one was not up for debate. It has the same composition as Yin, but with a 100% silk wrap with sequins attached. It is luminous. At $15.00/skein, it is a tremendous value over other sequin yarns. I think a shawl or even fancy scarf would be great in this yarn. It's on my (never ending) list of yarns to work with.

K1C2 has introduced a handpainted version of it's Ambrosia yarn. Ambrosia is a 70 baby alpaca/20 silk/10 cashmere blend, which is beautiful in its own right. But owner Helene Rush has taken this yarn to a new level with the handpaints. Her palette is absolutely stunning and like no other that we've seen on the market. Subtle, sophisticated and blended beautifully, I am truly tickled by her colors. The handpaints retail for $14.00/hank for 137 yards with a recommended gauge of 6 sts = 1" on a #3. Shawls, scarves, luxurious socks, wristlets/handwarmers - this yarn is made to be used for luxurious gifts.

We have received in the new Teva Durham Loop-d-Loop collection as well. Consisting of three yarns and a dedicated pattern book, the entire collection completely reflects Teva's style and design sensibilities. Moss is an 85% extrafine merino/15% blend and is a classic, sophisticated yarn. It retails at $9.95 and is used throughout the pattern book. Shale is a bulky blend of 35% mohair/30% acrylic/20% nylon/15% viscose. I'm sure some of you are raising an eyebrow on the content, but don't let that fool you. The fuzzy mohair is bound by the acrylic so it won't split when working with it. Plus the binder has a sheen and slightly different color variation that truly makes the yarn intriguing. At $9.95 for 73 yards, it will be a fun and quick knit. Last, but not least is Fern. Now, I will say, done by anyone else, Steve and I would have probably passed on this yarn. It is VERY different. But knowing Teva, we knew she would design it into incredible things. Fern is a wide, lacey ribbon with a scalloped border. I know, again raising an eyebrow, but stay with me. It's born to make accessories - she has designed an adorable vintage clutch bag and this yarn is truly at it's best when blended with Shale and/or Moss. It knits at 3 sts = 1" on a #13 and retails for $8.95. The dedicated pattern book is $14.99.

So there are a ton more yarns - haven't dipped our toe in yet, but I will stop here for now.

I have received several messages asking me about various projects. My knitalong sock from the podcast is coming, I'm at the heel turn and just need some quiet time to get through it (and maybe a little expert supervision).

My "Not Just and Apron" from has been in a bit of a time out for the past few weeks. I was nearly half way done and starting the second set of darts when I discovered the garment had lost 4 stitches along the way! I was not pleased. Now, I know I can count to 88, so it had to be the garment itself - fooling around when I was looking. I talked to it and said I was not happy. It layed there on my lap without so much as an apology. Now, had I been able to recover the stitches by frogging a few rows, I would have forgiven it and moved on. But that was not meant to be. The garment was truly testing my will. I had to frog back to the first set of darts. That was pure insubordination. Crochet is not suppose to do this to me. Crochet is fun, crochet always works out, it never fails me or tests me the way knitting does. Crochet is my reward. I had been waiting for quite awhile to make this garment and this is the thanks I get. So, it's been in time out. I've frogged it and done a few rows, but there's a long way to go. I still don't trust it and now I am slowed because I am constantly counting. This is how knitting treats me, but I will not take it from crochet.

And if it thinks it's coming to Chicago with next week, well, it's in for a RUDE awakening.

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