Monday, April 28, 2008


What else can I say? Yesterday was simply amazing. I'm not even sure where to begin with this post, so I'm just going to type it all out and if it's less than cohesive, my apologies.

First - I have to say a huge, HUGE thank you to Stephanie. She was gracious, funny, patient and entertaining. Not that any of that surprises me or anyone who has ever had the chance to see her in person, but knowing how tired I am today and knowing she didn't get to sleep in her own bed last night and had to be up before 6am to go to the airport to do it all over again, I am in awe of how she does it. I am so tired today my eyeballs hurt.

I knew we might be attaining a new level of craziness when I arrived yesterday morning to not only find folks already in the parking lot and waiting for the store to open, they had brought chairs and were hanging out. Some of the first folks through the door were two of my favorite whom I had not seen in awhile. Itsapurlman and his lovely wife made the trip for the event. As great as it was to see them, it was even more exciting when they pulled out this:

This is the Hupah from their wedding last fall. The yarn is our own Deerfield. Guido and his then fiance came to WEBS to interview Steve and I for his podcast. I had the honor of helping them select the yarn. I had not seen the finished product, though I had followed it's progress on Guido's blog and those of his friends. It is truly breathtaking and is now a lovely, cozy blanket that they use in their home. Thanks so much for bringing it along!!

Here's a couple of shots of the "calm before the Harlot":

By the time Stephanie arrived at 11am, the store was in fully engaged in controlled chaos, but by about 12:15, I was starting to panic (quietly, inside). I was EXTREMELY worried we weren't going to have enough books, I was PETRIFIED that Stephanie wasn't going to make it through the line of knitters waiting to get their books singed before she had to leave for the Calvin (although I did institute a plan B and ultimately she did get all of the knitters through the line) and there were so many people shopping and waiting to check out and the lines were getting all knotted up and confused that I was really worried. Not that anyone seemed upset, I just didn't feel like we were in control anymore:

(Note: check out for an even better shot of the store)

Seriously - I went over to Steve, who was working one of the registers and whisphered to him "Honey, I think we're on the verge of losing control". He grunted at me - this was not a good sign. I was looking for reassurance, I was looking for a "Don't worry Kath", but instead, I got a grunt. After being together for as long as we have been, I know that grunts are never a good sign. We've done a lot of events and have proven we have the ability to handle really large crowds, we handle ginormous crowds at Stitches in much smaller space than we have in the store and it never even phases me. I'm not quite sure why I didn't think we'd be okay - maybe my slight claustrophobia was getting the better of me.

I went back over to Steve shortly before I left for the Calvin and things were still wild and I said "We're never going to get everyone out of here in time for the event" and this time he said "I have a plan." I wasn't 100% sure it would work. I left WEBS and headed to the Calvin not knowing if (a) I would be opening the show on my own without Steve and (b) if all of the knitters would get out of WEBS and to the Calvin on time. In the end, Steve's plan worked and he was at the Calvin to kick off the show and all of the knitters made it there too.

Although there was one woman, who came in a bit late, a bit frazzled and explained to me that her friend found a bat on the sidewalk and was going to miss the show because she was standing over the bat since it was highly unusual to find a bat, on the sidewalk in the middle of the day and who should she call about the bat. I suggested the police - who could put her in touch with animal control. The woman left and I can't say I ever saw her return - I have no idea what happened there. If there's anyone with an update on that, please post in the comments.

The show was awesome, the crowd was amazing and Stephanie truly out did herself. As one person said to me "I laughed so hard I was exhausted when I left". That about sums it up. Justonescarf (from Ravelry) was there and an entertaining addition to the post-show Q&A once again this year. I'm going to be trying to schedule him for the podcast in the coming weeks, so stayed tuned for that.

Back at the store, there was more signings, more shopping and more knitterly fun. Steve addressed some of the issues we encountered while Stephanie was speaking and although the afternoon proved just as busy as the morning, we definitely were on top of things.

What really made the day, besides having the privelege of hosting Stephanie, was our most amazing staff. They handled everything flawlessly and are simply the best. Thanks to Mary, Karen, Jenna, Cirilia, Tina, Jaz, Leslie Ann, Gail, Elisabeth, KT, Dena and Pixie. Plus all of our wonderful customers who came and really made a great time for all of us! Thank you so much for coming to the shop and the event! Besides having the best yarn store staff on the planet, we definitely have the best customers.
Here's a couple of shots I took:

The first one is Leah, who is a knitter (wearing a sweater she knit - quite talented). The second two young knitters were just super cute!
I didn't take all that many pictures. In fact, as we were heading to dinner with Stephanie, Jess and Splityarn and her mum, I said to Steph, "I never got a picture with you" and her response was "Kath, I think people will know we were together today".

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Harlot Day is Tomorrow!

I have been composing this post in my head for the better part of today as I've been running errands, getting ready for the event, attending J2's first little league game of the season, etc. I even took a couple of cool pictures to share, as teasers. . . . .

Before posting, I decided to see how things went at SPM's Chicago event last night. I knew she was having some weather issues - I spoke with Amy at Storey mid-afternoon yesterday and she shared what was going. I never, in a million years, thought things would turn out as they did. I just logged onto the Harlot's blog and in matter of seconds thought I was going to throw-up. SHE NEVER MADE IT TO CHICAGO!! No event, no Harlot. I am sick for her, I am sick for the owner of Nana's Knitting Shop - the planning, the work and quite honestly the expense that goes into an event like this is beyond words. Then there are the knitters, who have all been so kind and understanding in the comments, but for sure were all heartbroken. I can only imagine how Stephanie must have felt, sitting at Pearson, as the realization that she was not going to make the event began to become a reality. There are no words.

So, I feel as if I really can't be all rah-rah excited right now (well, I am excited, but I feel it inappropriate to gloat).

For anyone who has not read the email we sent out, the Ravelry posts I've made (and got in trouble for posting the same thing in three different forums - oh well) OR the information on our website, please go here so you know what's happening tomorrow.

The one thing I have to share with you all is this - I saw it this morning as I went to the bank:
The folks at the Calvin wouldn't indulge me last year and I insisted on it this year - threatening them with me on a ladder, with a big Sharpie, in the middle of the night. I guess they took me seriously.
See you all tomorrow - it's going to be an absolute blast.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Harding and Harlot

A big thanks to everyone who joined us on Friday evening for our event with Louisa Harding. What great fun we had! Unfortunately, I left my camera sitting on the desk of my home office, but luckily Skrillaknits was armed and at the ready. I'll posting pictures shortly, but did not want to let too much time pass before posting.

We've also introduced a new Valley Yarn - Springfield. It was in our Spring catalog and we're working on a couple of patterns to support this great new yarn. Springfield is 88% cotton/12% acrylic and has a textured "crimp" to it. It's super soft and knits at 5 sts = 1" on a #6 needle and has 110 yards. Springfield is available in 11 colors and is $3.49/ball - oh and it's made in Italy.

The focus of our world right now is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's return to WEBS this Sunday, April 27th. Full details of the event are now available at Just click on the button on our homepage for all of the details. It is going to be a great day!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hello Cleveland

Steve and I are just back from a quick road trip to Cleveland. What's in Cleveland you ask? Well, besides one of the easiest airports I've ever navigated, good food and nice spring weather, there is Beachwood Studios. What is Beachwood Studios? It's a major production facility for PBS. Why, you may ask, were we there? A few years earlier and my boys' would have asked if we were visiting Clifford The Big Red Dog or going to Dragonland with Max and Emmie. This trip was all fiber related - we were there for the inaugural taping of Interweave Press' new show - Knitting Daily TV. Knitting Daily TV is the new incarnation of Shay Pendray's Needlearts Studio, which has been on the air for several years. Interweave has taken over production of the show and is evolving it into KDTV. WEBS is one of the underwriters and we were asked to participate in several segments. So with lots of work in advance and some crazy last minute knitting (thanks Kirsten, thanks Melissa), Steve and I ventured off to Cleveland.

It was a blast (I can say that now) but it was also very stressful. Steve refused to participate in any on-air segments, so I was on my own. Fortunately, each segment included a host - I got to work with Liz Gipson, editor of Handwoven Magazine and Shay Pendray herself. I participated in 7 different segments within the 13 episodes that were being taped this week. I had lots of props and such, which all had to be set-up in advance in the "green room" (it really is green - look at the walls in the background).

I have to also say a big, huge thanks to Mary, who packed up everything I needed for the show, in bags, labeled with which segment they were for and what she had included. I had everything I needed and it was really, really, REALLY easy to set-up my segments. Mary rocks!

I also had to have seven different outfits - one for each segment - which would not normally be an issue since I'm a bit of a clothes horse, but PBS has rules - rules that basically excluded my entire wardrobe (no black or white allowed). Also, no big prints, polka dots or skinny stripes. . .no red, preferably no pastels, nothing too warm as the set can be hot, but no short sleeves or sleeveless because they can be "unnattractive". Plus, whatever I wore had to be able to have a microphone attached to it. I did figure it out and did not have to appear naked (I'm sure that would've broken another PBS rule, although it was not clearly stated).

Knitting Daily TV will air this July. If you previously were able to get Shay's show in your area, there's a very good chance you will get KDTV. If you didn't, now may be the time to get all of your fiber (and non-fiber friends for that matter) to contact your local PBS affiliate and encourage them to pick up the show. Interweave has done a great job of restructuring the show, hosts include not only Liz and Shay, but also Eunny Yang and Kim Werker. They have all sorts of fun topics and interesting guests (if I do say so myself). I"ll pass more information along as it becomes available and if you aren't a regular subscriber to, go there now and sign-up!

This was an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, but I am so glad we did it. If you don't challenge yourself, you'll never know what you are capable of (or so they say). What really reassured me that this was the right thing to do, was this sign on the inside of the door to the elevator at our hotel:

Seriously, where have you ever seen a sheep sign on the inside of an elevator door before? Steve and I were both a bit stunned and tickled at the same time, to say the least.


P.S. Don't forget - Louisa Harding at WEBS tomorrow starting at 5:00pm! Don't worry if you can't be there right at 5 - pop in when you can. I saw Louisa in Cleveland and she's really looking forward to her visit with us!

P.P.S. Be sure to listen to this week's Ready, Set, Knit! radio show/podcast on Saturday. Before Steve and I left we interviewed the Yarn Harlot and Melissa filled in for Pixie! It was a fun show - enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Oh My

I knew it had been awhile since I had blogged. What I didn't realize was that it had been THAT long. Ugh. I'm not quite sure what happened other than life and other work-related stuff. It's been kind of nutty between travel (work & family), projects, beads. I've taken lots of pictures, it's not that the blog hasn't been on my mind. I just haven't been able to fit blogging into the weekly routine lately.

So, with that said, the only thing to do is catch up and go forward!

Last I left you we had just returned from Stitches West, which was awesome. So great to see so many of you out there.

Once we got back, we only had a little bit of time before we headed out on our March vacation with the kids. Florida as usual, but this year, we had a surprise for them:

They were going to Disney. First.Time. We didn't tell them until we were getting ready to head to the airport. They were stunned (we couldn't ask for much more of a reaction, given that it was 4:30 am). It was an awesome trip.

Steve and I really made every effort to disconnect for awhile. It's impossible to do so completely, but I think we did a better than average job on this trip. Which was great while we were away, but made things a bit harder when we got back.

First full weekend back was "Move the Bead Store" weekend. It went very well and we love the new space.

If you haven't been by to visit, please stop in when you can. We're offering a bunch of introductory classes and will be building upon that. We will be selling on-line, but not yet. You can check us out at
We also kicked off our 34th Annual Anniversary Sale. I'm sure you've heard about it by now, but if not, be sure to click through and check out the amazing selection of yarns for knitters, weavers and crocheters.

Our event calendar is packed. This Friday night we have Louisa Harding at the store from 5-8pm. This event is FREE and will feature an informal talk by Louisa about her designs, yarn and everything that goes into creating her line each season. We'll have light hors d'ouevres and beverages as usual.

Next up on April 27th is the Yarn Harlot herself. More details will follow, but we're planning to open the store at 10am. She'll be in around 11ish to start signing books. Then it's over to the Calvin for the event at 2pm. Be sure to register here. We need a headcount! Then it's back to the store for more additional book signings. We'll be open until the last knitter leaves.

Then on May 17/18, it's Tent Sale Weekend! Saturday also features our annual Fleece Market. It's a fun and crazy time and something you don't want to miss. More details to follow on that as well.
Hopefully I'm back on track now. Thanks for your patience!

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