Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Time Warps and Weirdness

I've got a whole hodge podge of things to get to and time is short.

I leave for Stitches in the a.m. and to say I am unprepared would be, well. . . an understatement. I have no idea how it got to be October 9th. Seriously. I am still somewhere in early August. I haven't even made it to Stitches Midwest yet, but the calendar says October and my calendar says I'm to go to the airport tomorrow to fly to Baltimore for East. Okay, I'll do as the calendar says, but I swear, it's truly only early August.

So first, I must post, Pixie's finished Duster (cue the trumpets, please):

It is "dahling" as I would say with my Boston accent, which I don't let out very often, but every now and again :) Really, it is exquisite - for all of the ribbing we give Pixie for her pickiness about which increases to use, which seaming technique is best, well, the garment speaks for itself and her skills. I know you can't see the detail and I'm sorry I didn't take close-ups of some of the points she's made in the podcast. Remember that speed/calendar problem I'm dealing with? I'll see what I can do when I get back. For those of you coming to Baltimore, it will be there, on display. Come see it, try it on, fall in love with the Tilted Duster. Mine is coming too! It's just not quite as, how can I say this. . . finished?? Yeah, that's it. But it's coming along. Anyone interested, just ask :) Remember, if I can make this, so can you! We'll have lots of Peruvia on hand or our Berkshire if you want to substitute.

On the podcast today (which we recorded without Steve which was another totally weird part of today. Seriously, my timing was completely off, I felt completely out of sorts, it was just plain weird. Never again.) Pixie discussed the shoulder seaming and her preferred technique (okay, let's all quietly giggle at Pixie and her "preferred/better than the rest way" but we must all acknowledge that darn it, she's right). Here is the the two swatches she references:

So listen on Saturday or download the episode when you can (available also Saturday) and you now have the visual to go with it.

Okay, now it's time for some yarn love. Alpaca Sox from Classic Elite came in during the deluge and although we talked about it on the show, I never quite got it on the blog. So here it is:

Love this yarn. Now, it's not machine washable and I know this will be an issue for some of you. I get it. But the yarn is yummy, the colors outstanding. Here are my two favorite:

And yes, I did write down what they were when I took this picture last week and do you think that scrap of paper is anywhere to be found? Oh, we've got a winner folks! Gold Star to the reader from Oregon who just blurted out "Heck no, you are in some weird time warp, you are trying to get out of town, your behind schedule, the kids are cranky because you are leaving again and not being very cooperative and that piece of paper is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND". The reader is correct and I am sorry. I will try to figure it out and edit somewhere down the road. (NOTE: Betsy, et al at Classic Elite, if you can add a comment with the colors, I will be forever indebted).

So, here it is, 7:15pm. I'm blogging and trying to get the boys ready for bed and get their KBAR done (Kick Back And Read), which I have asked Jackson to handle and read to Jonathan to kill two birds with one stone and I've got laundry going which I pray is almost dry or else, well, someone in this family is going to be short some important garments in the next few days and I have sweater models that HAVE TO FIT IN MY SUITCASE which I am not at all confident is going to happen, even if I do only bring two pairs of pants for the entire show, which is so completely not how I pack, but I digress. It's 7:15 and the phone rings - the forward progess of all of the above comes to a halt. I go to get the phone and think "If this is Steve calling to check in, during what he KNOWS is the insane time of the day on a regular day, much less a day when we're down to one parent who has to travel in the a.m., I swear I'm going to snap. I pick up the phone and on the other end I hear "Hi Honey, how's it going?" All cheerful and kid free and adult-dinnered and probably adult-beveraged with no laundry worries or packing issues or anything. Yup, it's Steve. I ask if his watch is broken or lost, he says no. I ask if he went somewhere else besides Baltimore that included a time change and he again says no. I then say "I'll call you back". He's not happy but since he is getting adult-dinnered and beveraged, I trump him.

So, the only other quirky part of the day happend about 15 minutes before I was leaving to record said show "alone" with Pixie. My office phone rings and I answer "Hi, this is Kathy" and on the other end of the phone a voice, a familiar voice, says "Hi, it's Stephanie. Please don't fling yourself off the roof of your building because I haven't receive my yarn". Now, there was more to it than that, but you get the gist. Guesses, guesses, any guesses? It was the Harlot, who is oh so patiently waiting for an order (not just any order, but you'll need to keep up with her blog for all of the details on that - I'm short on time, remember?) that still has not arrived. Seriously, I can get yarn to the lovely Amanda and Sasha in Australia faster than I can get it to Toronto. I posted on her blog about the flinging myself off our building and skipping Stitches to drive the yarn to her. She was kind enough to call and tell me not to waste my time, not because she didn't appreciate my valiant efforts but, any ideas why she would take the time to do this? How's about because she's a nice person? Well, she is very nice, but no, that was not the reason. Maybe she decided she doesn't really like the yarn but will accept the order when it arrives? Nope, not that. Still in lust with the yarn. No, she was nice enough to call and tell me this: we (WEBS) simply do not have any more of the yarn. It's gone. All gone. So, if the package, two weeks in transit does not arrive (note: she says this amount of time is still reasonable for US/Canada deliveries), the package containing her "reward yarn" for finishing her book, I cannot do a thing to fix it. There is no more yarn. Yeah, I'm so stoked at this point in the conversation I can barely stand it. Now, later in the day, I think I was thrown a life preserver, but I'm keeping that under wraps until I truly need it. You know who you are - for your safety and my sanity, please stay quiet :)

Okay, that's it. KBAR is over. Steve deserves to say goodnight to his boys so I need to call him back and I need to put in the links, add the pics, finish the laundry, pack and get out of Dodge. See you all in Baltimore.


P.S. It's 8pm, later than usual for bedtime, but they're done, this post is about to be posted, Steve and the boys connected and I THINK my laundry is dry. Woohoo!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wine, Yarn and Song!

Not necessarily in that order, but you'll get the idea.

This past weekend was busy as usual, but there were a few wonderful highlights. First off, on Saturday, the Grand Opening of Pioneer Valley Vineyard finally arrived.

I do love a nice wine, but the opening of this winery was extra special because it is owned and operated by our Linda B., our faboo Customer Service Manager. This is an endeavor that has been three long years in the works (much more if you include all of the planning and such) for her and her family and every bit of effort paid off. The vineyard is beautiful:

The winery and tasting room themselves are lovely and the wine, well the wine is awesome. Steve and I tasted all of the offerings and bought a bottle of each of our favorites:

Raspberry, Cranberry, Blueberry and a white grape called Cayuga. The Apple wine was good, but not quite us. I was actually quite surprised at had good these wines are since I tend to not ususally be a fan of fruity-tuity wines, but these won me over. Maybe we need to institute free-wine Fridays at WEBS, rather than free-lunch Fridays! Probably not, I don't think our mail order customers would appreciate us picking and packing their orders under the influence :)

My favorite picture from the event has to be this one though:

I love the role reversal of Linda running the register and WE"RE checking out :)

We kicked off the weekend with Parent's Day at the boys' school on Friday. We saw adorable performances

Ate special treats

and battled it out in the parents vs kids soccer game. The kids won, of course. Fun was had by all.

As I eluded to in my last post (at least I think I did), Gail Callahan, our own Kangaroo Dyer has created a limited edition "Pink" colorway in our Franklin Sock Yarn. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and knowing so many people who have been touched in one way or another by this disease, we wanted to do something extra this year. The proceeds from the sale of this yarn will be donated to our The Cancer Connection, right in Northampton. If we sell out of this first batch, Gail is up for dyeing more, but when the month is over it will be gone until next year. The yarn is available on-line and in the store.

When Gail was in last week, she had her latest dyeing creating with her. She is a nut when it comes to playing with color and she particularly likes to practice by over-dyeing the not so pretty leftovers from some of our closeouts. This little treasure had to come home with me:

It's formally a skein of angora that was a not-so-great-purple. I am not usually a fan of angora, but I fell for the gorgeous colors, the sweet fluffiness of it all. It's a small little bit, but I think I can create a pair of wristlets for myself. Or I may just keep it as it is. All I know is it makes me smile everytime I spy it in the basket in my home office. If you want to score some of this for yourself or see some of Gail's other amazing yarns, be sure to visit her at the Franklin County Fiber Twist in Old Deerfield, MA on October 27 & 28.

Oh and don't forget. Stitches East is this week in Baltimore! We'll be in booths 313-317 & 412-416 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Kaffe Fassett will be signing books in our booth on Thursday night and on Friday, Teva Durham will be with us to showcase her new yarn line, Loop-D-Loop and sign her pattern books.
Tomorrow I'll finally post Pixie's darling Tilted Duster and I also want to give some love to a new sock yarn that came in during the avalanche and somehow didn't get shown any love here on the blog and it's one I do truly adore.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Socks, Sweaters and a Contest

Everyone was very excited this morning as Sharlene unpacked the day's deliveries and came out from the back with the latest limited edition Tofutsies color:

It's color number 741 and is quite lovely. I had to remind the staff that we needed to leave some for all of you! Remember, this is a one time onlly color so don't wait! It's yummy shades of green with a little black in it. Makes me think more of fresh cut grass than fall, but I guess cutting grass is still prevalent in most parts of the country, especially in Arizona where SWTC is based! (Note, this color is at the bottom of the Tofutsies page).

As the excitement about this yarn was spreading through the store, Karen, our store manager popped into my office with this lovely sweater:

It's Filatura Di Crosa Multicolor, which was introduced last fall and has not only some new shades for this season, but has also been packaged into a kit that will create either this stylish sweater or a scarf and hat set.
Our knitter used one needle size larger to make it a tad bigger and it also resulted in a slightly looser fabric that will be perfect with a shell or cami underneath. I am not a big mohair fan myself, but I do like this sweater. The kits can be ordered here and the pattern is included. If not for yourself, this could make a great gift. The holidays are coming (sorry, we're going to have to face that fact sooner rather than later my friends).

Next, I am tickled about a new project. As many of you know, Storey Publishing introduced the book One Skein Wonders last year. The book was a hit and we were especially thrilled to have several of our staff members' creations included. Storey is about to release the follow-up, 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. Once again, there are several projects from our talented staff included. I've had a chance to preview the book and it's another must have.

To support the introduction of this book, Storey is launching a GREAT contest. You can go to the website http://www.oneskeinwonders.com/ and register to win a skein of yarn per month for all of next year. Just simply click on the "contest" circle on the lower right side of the page. There will be an enclosed patterns and probably some other surprises. The catch is that only 101 winners will be chosen! That tells me the yarns that will be included must be pretty special. Storey and I talked about the contest and we both agreed that although there will be 101 very happy people, there will be many other very sad non-winners. So, beginning in January, WEBS will be offering our own Skein-of-the-Month Club to not only the non-winners but to anyone who is interested in signing up. We haven't worked out all of the details yet, but stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, be sure to register to win at the website above!


Monday, October 1, 2007

Back from a Deserted Island

No post since last week because Steve and I snuck off for a few days of R&R - alone! No work (well, there was some, there's always some) and no kids. Although we travel together for business frequently and have our standard "family" getaways, we realized last year that we never really get away just for ourselves. We promised we'd do our best to change that and for the second year in a row we have succeeded.

We are pretty easy to please - Steve's only request is golf and mine is warmth. They pretty much go hand in hand. We took our chances in Florida and our gamble paid off (it is hurricane season you know). Five glorious days of golf, pool and food. Here's where Steve spent the majority of his time:

And here we are:

I'll spare you all the poolside photos.

The beauty of this trip was that because it is hurricane season, the resort we stayed at was blissfully empty for the majority of our stay. It was if we had the place to ourselves, which I have to say was really, really nice. Not quite a deserted island, but pretty close.

So here we are, October 1st and we're ready to roll! We've only got a week until Stitches East! Are any of you planning to attend? Be sure to stop by and at least say "Hi" and check out the great yarns we are bringing. Of course our own Valley Yarns will be center stage, with all of the garments from the fall catalog on display and many of the newest of the new to be featured in our holiday catalog as well. Those of you at the show will be the first to see them! Also, this will be the "show" debut for Sheffield and Williamstown.

Pixie's Titled Duster will be on display (mine will still be a WIP). Andra from Berroco will be there as always with lots of great garments and plenty of Peruvia for those of you interested in starting the duster or another project. Of course, all of the other great Berroco yarns will be there as well.

Thursday night, October 11th will be extra special. We will be hosting Kaffe Fassett in our booth. He'll be there to meet and greet, sign his new book, talk about his great new sock yarns and all things knitting.

Will also be bringing along the Teva Durham collection of yarns and she will be in our booth throughout the weekend (more specific times to follow). We'll have many of the garments from the pattern book on display so be sure to check those out as well.

Then, of course, there will be closeouts and amazing special buys. Steve has been working OT to get the best of the best stuff available and I don't think you'll be disappointed. Shop early for best selection!

The specifics for the show are as follows:

Stitches East
Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD
October 11-14, 2007
Thurs: 7pm-10pm (this is the market night for students only)
Fri & Sat: 10am-6pm
Sun: 10am-4pm

There are still classes with openings so if you are thinking of coming to shop, consider a class as well.

It is October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We will be holding our annual Knit for Hope event on Friday evening, October 26th from 6-9pm. Additionally, Gail Callahan, our very own Kangaroo Dyer has created a custom "October Pink" colorway in our Franklin sock yarn just for this month. It is limited quantity and only available during the month of October or while supplies last. We will be donating the proceeds of the sale of each skein to our local Cancer Connection to support all of the wonderful programs they provide. More to follow on this, pictures, etc. Watch the blog and the website on Thursday.


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