Monday, January 31, 2011

A Fresh Look

We fiddled around with our booth at TNNA this season. We'd been doing the same old thing for awhile and decided that it was time to freshen things up a bit. The biggest thing we did was add some mannequins. We've had them in the past, but never more than one full sized one and a couple that sit on the tabletop.

Mannequins can be difficult. When you have several, you have to manage all of those personalities. Sometimes they just can't seem to get along. Jealousy is often the problem. They are constantly vying for attention.

Sometimes mannequins seem a little creepy. Maybe it's because they have finials instead of heads. Or if they have heads, they don't usually make eye contact which can be off putting. Don't even get me started on that hair.

Still, mannequins show off sweaters nicely. Sweaters just look better with some shape. And we had some pretty sweet sweaters to show off.

So, we took a few elements from booths we done in the past and mixed things up.

On the right is Val Love of Dovetail Design's Featherweight Cardigan. It's knit in our Helen's Lace in a new colorway, Monkeyshines. On the left is Amy Swenson's Watershed. It's shown here in Cranberry Lion and Lamb. (You can see these two mannequins weren't talking to each other. Cold shoulder city!)

This group was at least making an attempt to be cordial. On the left is Ann Weaver's Gabriella shown in our new Shenanigans colorway. The yarn is Pearl. The center model is another Amy Swenson delight called Ravinia. It's done in our newest nearly solid, Kerfuffle. Last up is Heartstrings FiberArts Eyelet Rib Sweater knit in Shepherd Sport and shown in Tomfoolery.

We had lots of fun putting the booth together. Naming the colors was fun too. We'll be shipping new colors in earnest this week. I'll put together a post with a better rundown of the colors in the few days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Packers or Steelers?

At this time last week, I had high hopes for the Chicago Bears and a Superbowl appearance. Even though Jay Cutler, our starting quarterback, left the game with an injury, they came very close to a last minute victory. Hats off to Da Bears!

Now it's time to turn our attention to the big game. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers will be taking the field on February 6th. Can you think of two teams with more rabid fans?

We've dyed up a couple of special colors. One the left is Go Packers! And on the right is Pittsburgh Pride. I'm not sure two fans would really cozy up like that.

You can get Go Packers! at Yarns by Design in Neenah, WI. The Pittsburgh Pride is at Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh.

We'd like to give away one skein of Shepherd Sock to a fan of each team. Leave a comment letting us know whether you'll be rooting for the Packers or Steelers and we'll pick a winner from each side using a random number generator on the day after the game.

**Edited to add:

I just got a call from the nice folks over at Signature Needle Arts. They want a piece of the Super Bowl action too!

They are generously upping the kitty in our little Packer/Steeler contest and have offered to give away one pair of straight needles to each of our lucky winners. In keeping with the theme, they have gold needles (sized 1 and 6) and green needles (3 and 8). Or you can pick another color if you'd like.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Something Old Something New

The first thing I ever knit was a sweater. I was taking an introductory class at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence, KS and they let us pick anything we wanted. Instead of the usual potholder or scarf sort of thing, I decided I wanted to jump right in with both feet.

I chose a pattern by Rowan from one of their very early books, #6 I think. For the yarn I decided on Brown Sheep's Lamb Pride Bulky in Cream. Then I got busy. At the time I was a rep for a college textbook company and it was summer, so I didn't have to work much. I spent hours and hours every day becoming quite addicted to the knitting.

By the time the class was over, I had knit that sweater and had moved onto another. I still have my first sweater. I pull it out every year when the weather gets really really cold. It's a little out of date, it's boxy with drop sleeves, but I love it anyway.

As I mentioned, that sweater started out life as color number M10 Cream. Somewhere along the line I spilled something down the front of it and I decided to dye it. At that point in time, the only dye I'd ever heard of was Rit. So I marched down to the grocery store and picked up some of their Red. I wanted it to be really dark, so I doubled the recipe.

This salmon pink wasn't quite what I thought I was going to get from double strength red, but I've loved it this way for a long time.

I think it's time to reinvent this sweater. But I'm not quite sure what color it wants to be next. I could certainly do that dark red. I'm more adept at dyeing these days. (Go figure.) Or maybe purple? Brown? There are so many choices.

Help me out folks! What color should my first sweater be next?

Monday, January 17, 2011

How About a Little Java?

My re-entry into the world after TNNA has been a little rocky. I stayed on Long Beach for a couple of extra days to attend the board meeting and by the time I got home the evil bug that's been going around took me out. I'm glad to be back at 'em today.

Cailyn Meyer's Java Socks in the new issue of were just the thing to perk me up this morning. (Yeah, I know the pun is bad.) Cailyn said that her favorite part of the socks are the patterned gusset. I like that too, but I have to say I might be partial to the toe decreases. They are done more in the middle and look pretty swell with the cables. They're knit in our Shepherd Sock, color 36ns Chocolate.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

KnitScene Winter/Spring

Just a quickie before we before I head out to market. My ride is knocking at the door!

This cute shrug is from the new Knitscene Winter/Spring issue. The online It's called Camelia and was designed by Cassie Miller. It's knit from our Shepherd Worsted in colorway 110 Avondale.

The online preview went live yesterday and you'll be able to find the magazine at your LYS on January 24th.

Talk to you all next week when we get back. There will be new colors and a maybe even a roundup from the show!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

No Resolutions

I read something the other day about a different sort of New Year's Resolution. I think Chris Brogan was ultimately the source but I found it on Ivana Taylor's site. The idea was that instead of setting yourself up for failure with the typical "I will start exercising every day" or "I will quit smoking" kind of thing, you choose a few words that will serve as guides for the coming year.

Don't make them too specific. You're looking for big, fat, chewy words you can really get behind.

I've been mulling about my words for a few days. I decided that there should probably be two sets of words, one for Beth and the other for Lorna's Laces.

First up is Beth. I think one of my words needs to be Outward. It's far too easy for me to spend more time than I should worrying about the littlest of things. So I'm going to make a conscious effort not to let the people who live inside my head get out of hand. If I'm really honest, I should probably kick them out completely because they are behind on their rent.

Another aspect of Outward is more physical. I want to reach out and invite more people into my life. I met several wonderful folks over the holidays and I intend to take the next step and reach out and invite them to do something. Maybe dinner or coffee or mini golf when the weather gets nice.

The next word is Optimism. I once had a boss describe me in an annual review as having an acerbic sense of humor. I'm pretty sure she didn't mean it as a compliment. I firmly believe that being happy has as much to do with attitude as anything else. I'm going to keep pouring until my glass is at least half full all year long.

I'm going to stop with my two O words. They're pretty good guideposts for me.

For Lorna's Laces, I'm going to limit myself to one word but I'm going to look at it from a couple of different points of view. The word is Flow. The first sense I'm thinking of is continuing the Flow. I'm proud of the job we do here for our customers. Our yarns are beautiful and we treat people well. Keeping those ideas in the front of our mind will always be a priority so I like to reiterate it to myself and the crew each year.

Another aspect of Flow is the idea of inspiration. In order for us do the very best we can, we need to maintain an mindful openness and let our imagination have its way with us.

The last aspect of Flow I have in mind is a little cheesy so bear with me. It is the concept of letting the creativity Flow through our hearts and hands to yours and letting your hands create a tangible expression of the hopes and dreams you have for the person who receives what you make. That person can be yourself, a loved one or a total stranger but they are getting a little piece of everyone who has touched the yarn along the way.