Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Week Where Aunt Em Gets to Hug You and Say "Oh My! You're Getting So Big!"

Have I said this before?  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  All of the hanging out with the family playing cards and eating.  Without all the pressure of the decorating and the presents.  And lots and lots of cooking.  Love.  That.  Cooking.  

This year is Dave's family which means:  seeing the little cousins.  Can you believe it--my kids are the "big kids!"  We have 4 little cousins age 5 and under.  I am so excited.  I am working on something for the littlest niece who hasn't received her baby quilt yet.  I will not out myself and tell you how old she is now.

Her mom is an English Teacher so I believe she is a big reader.  This piece you are looking at is about 20" wide and 40" high, so you are looking at half the quilt.  There will be two "stacks".

In between sewing strips, I've stocked up on construction paper, tissue paper, crayons, pine cones and googley eyes.  Looking forward to a couple days of serious toddler art.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!   Stay safe and eat pie!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vogue Knitting Live!

You guys know that I occasionally take my yarn on the road and vend at yarn shows.  But I don't often do the big review here on the blog because, honestly, I am so tired afterward that it takes me a week or so to get back to normal, and then it feels like the big excitement has passed and not worth it to document on the blog.

But I'd like to rewind a few weeks and share my experience at Vogue Knitting Live, Chicago.  It was VKL's first time coming to Chicago, and it was held downtown at the Palmer House Hilton. 

(If imagining the Palmer House does not make you swoon, just click take one quick second to look here.)  Now imagine that lobby filled--every nook and cranny--with people knitting.  

Doing shows is one part of the yarn dyeing business that I really, really love.  I love the theatrical quality of entering a big empty convention center in the morning, (in the case of VKL it was 6 am, but more on that later), and seeing it transformed by evening into a sparkly, glittery, fabulous marketplace floor filled with beautiful yarn and fiber.  Oh, the projects.  Oh, the possibilities.......

Okay, ready for pictures?

This is what the loading dock looks like at 6 a.m.  (Just stop to do the math--in order to be at the loading dock downtown Chicago at 6 a.m. means I had to leave my St. Charles home at 4:30 a.m. which means I had to get up at the ungodly hour of 4:25 a.m.)

Glamourous, huh?  That's the life of the traveling yarnie.  Sooooo glamourous. 

About fifteen minutes later I was upstairs at my booth.  This is what a blank booth looks like:

In past years, I would get to my space, and stare for a moment at the big emptiness of it, and maybe get paralyzed for a little bit about how to go about filling it up.  But, over the past year or so, I've really gotten accustomed to how I like to arrange things, and I've formed a Master Plan.   

Here we are, partially set up.  I start with the walls--backdrop, samples, banner, and signage.  That is (was) the hardest part.  And until I had my Master Plan about where all the samples were supposed to go--I kind of dreaded it.  Now that I have my Master Play Layout, I can just hang everything, without having to use brainpower (6 a.m. in the morning!) of making choices about where things go.  After this part is done, I set up the tables against the walls and build the cubes and fill them with yarn.  (Easy part.)

Now, if only I could wave my magic wand and tone down that carpet!

After knitting samples for two years, and recently enlisting the aid of some fabulous sample knitters: Ginger, Carla, Laura, Angi (waving to you guys!  blowing kisses!) I have all three walls filled to overflowing with examples of wonderful knitting projects--stuff that is not only fun to knit but also fun to wear. 

Something new I just added to my booth this fall are my three mannequins.  

I really love these ladies.  They are quiet and shy, but very helpful.  Here, they are modeling my three samples that promote the Color Trio kits.  Clockwise from top:  Eris, Color Affection, and Thinking of Waves.  These samples were really attention getting, judging from the rate that my MCN was flying off the shelf.  I think that showing a garment on a real (fake) body must make a big difference.  

The great thing about having a booth is feeling more "a part of" the whole show than I used to as an attendee.   I have a unique view of the show from the sliver of my 10 x 10 space.  I see all the beautiful, some not-so-beautiful, and (there's always one) just plain weird knitted garments that pass through.  I catch all the drama that happens in my aisle--when the lady down the way sets her yarn on fire, when the little dog from the diagonal booth pees on the aisle floor, when a neighboring booth has to pack up early to get home in front of an impending hurricane, and people chip in to help.  

Unfortunately I can't give a broader review of the entire show, teachers, classes, the rest of the marketplace, because I don't get to take classes or browse much of the rest of the show. 

But I do get a little of the "flavor" from chatting with the other vendors and the customers, and I did get a great feeling from the Vogue show-goers that it was a very exciting and fashion-forward event.  There were many reports of great classes, fashion shows, and rubbing elbows with the knitting glitterati.  I even had a few celebrity sightings myself.  

Speaking of chatting with the customers, that is my favorite part.  That is what really sets it apart from selling on the internet.  Sometimes, if I'm lucky, people ask for help with picking out the perfect something to go with the pattern / other yarn they brought / idea in the their head.

Sometimes, if I'm really lucky, people come to the show wearing a finished project done with my yarn!

Sometimes, if I'm super-duper lucky, a customer introduces him or herself, and it's someone that I've done business with over the internet, and know them by name, but not in person. (and sometimes they let me hug them!)

So that, friends, is my little report of working at a yarn show.  I hope you enjoyed it!  I'm working at getting all my samples into Ravelry this week.  So if you saw something in the photos above that you liked or had a question about, feel free to ask a question in the comments, or check out my Sophie's Toes Ravelry group, or friend me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kind of Like Finding a Twenty in Your Coat Pocket

Hey Friends,

It's been so long since I knitted a sweater.  It's been sooooo loooong since I knitted anything, really, that wasn't a show sample.  Probably 2 years.   So after I finished Vogue Knitting Live last week, my last show of 2012, I decided that I would spend the next couple of months working my way through some stash. 

I've been wanting to make Aidez for forever, and I even have the yarn for it.  I thought it would be a good one to start with, being bulky, and quick, and I could get some momentum going.

So I got into my bin to get out the Rowan Scottish Tweed--and lookie!  Lookie!  Lookie!

I found a sleeve!  Apparently I started it already, like 2 years ago, and put it away in the bin, and forgot.  (High five to past-self for giving me a head start on my stash-busting-sweater-knitting!  Whoo!)