Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Breathe. It's over.

TNNA ended yesterday afternoon, and after a super fast break-down and a very fast drive home, it was really over.  I still have a few things to put away but I'm pretty much done with trade shows until next TNNA. And that's just fine.  The past 2 months have been devoted to working at the nursery and TNNA prep and I'm looking forward to moving on to the next thing... which I haven't quite decided on yet.

*To the non-knitters out there: TNNA is a needle arts convention, the biggest in the US.  It was my third time there but first with Good For Ewe.

So first I'll show you the very few pictures I have from TNNA...(you aren't really supposed to take any pictures inside the trade show)

I finally got this hat done!  We sold the pattern and the kits and have plenty leftover which I will take to trunk shows this fall. Thanks to my good friend Meghann and her lovely Lucy for modeling.
The Good For Ewe booth with myself, Meghann and my mom.  My dad met up with us for the last day of the show.  My parents are not fiber crafters and were bored to tears. 
Meghann and I chatted with Stephen West for a while.  He even picked out a hank of Kettle Steps to take home with him. 
Jeni's Ice Cream.  I went once with my mom and once with Meghann.  If you ever get to Columbus Ohio, make Jeni's your first stop. 
My loot from the show.  When breakdown begins at the end of the show, you grab your oddballs or some cash and ask other vendors if they're willing to make a deal so they have a little less to take home. I got some fabulous orange merino and patterns from Baah Yarns, some omgamazing yarn from Zen (they were across the hall from us, Neville (one of the owners) and I hung out at the reps meeting and he let Meghann and I each have a hank.  It's amazing yarn, the Zen Yarn Garden people are super kind, and if you ever see one of their beauties at your local yarn shop, grab it.  But of course make sure you're getting some Good For Ewe yarn too. :p

I also scored a yarn bowl from Pawley Studios (also super kind people) and my mom snuck over and bought me the matching mug when I was away from the booth. The knitting pirate is actually a tattoo I've been wanting for about 10 years but I'm too afraid of needles to get it.  So the Yarrrn bowl will suffice...for now. 

The brown yarn is Yak from Myak, a newer Italian company.  The woman in the booth was quite pregnant and came wandering in to the Good For Ewe booth and wanted to trade some yak for some Claddagh- my merino and baby llama tweed to make baby clothes.  I'm always game for a trade, so she's taking some Claddagh back to Italy, and I have 3 hanks of Yak.  I haven't a clue what to do with it, but it's going to be pretty fabulous when I get to it. And that's my loot.
Some other highlights of the TNNA trip:

Jess and Casey from Ravelry wandering into the booth and hanging out for about 10 minutes, talking about Bob and other dogs. 

Ysolda thought my booth was cute.  She told us twice. 

Picking up a rep that used to be a friend from Lantern Moon.  He's new to repping but I know he'll do great, and I'll be his first company to sign him on.  So I think that's pretty cool for both of us. 

Stacy Charles (who I met in February) remembered me and told me I could email him if I ever needed to bounce an idea off someone about a new product or marketing approach. 

Standing in line for lunch with Jess and Cat Bordhi and then sharing a waffle with Jess.  Casey remembering who Meghann and I were at the end of the show and waving goodbye at the end.  We did a fangirl squee as soon as we passed. 

I'm so glad Meghann, a fellow yarn dork was able to come to the show with me.  My mom was there the whole show but the significance of some people and events were lost on her.  It was nice to have someone to be starstruck with. 

So...the show's over.  What now?

Good For Ewe work is never done.  I've got a few orders to ship out and a few patterns I'm still working on.  There are 6 trunk shows on the books for this fall, and I'll need to prepare for those next.  

The first pattern I'm taking down is this baby blanket of doom.  I actually really like it, I'm just over the ribbing pattern.  It's been on the needles for almost a year now. I'd like to have it finished and the pattern written up for a trunk show that's happening in 3 weeks. 
I was really excited to start a new quilt after the trade show, but Esther the sewing machine called it quits halfway through the last curtain.  I'll get a new one after I save up a little more money and finish a few more projects.  It's absolutely killing me that I have all the fabrics washed, ironed and cut and I can't actually start my quilt top. Maybe it will force me to finish the lingering projects faster. 

I've also been in the mood for a cardigan lately.  I will need a green one or two for when it gets chilly at the nursery this fall.  We'll see.  I've got to finish this baby blanket, a circular afghan, a beaded shawl, a dog blanket and a pair of socks before anything new gets going.  I'm counting on you, dear readers, to hold me to this. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Look what I can do!

One of Good For Ewe's first customers (actually, my very first customer) is a little basket shop in Greenfield, Indiana with a yarn room.  I've been telling the owner for about 2 years how I'm going to take a basket class...after I finish a few more projects.  And then I was out there last week and she was dyeing some pastel reeds that were really talking to me.  So I signed myself up.  I also talked to my web-girl, Lauren, and signed her up too.  So bright and early this morning I picked her up and we headed out to Greenfield.

I'm not sure why I had been putting it off- I guess I didn't realize what a fast project it was and didn't need yet another ongoing project.  Margaret was a really great teacher and was so helpful in showing the steps for right handed weavers (Lauren) and left handed weavers (me).  As she started the next step she explained more about the "anatomy" of the basket and why this step is important and why it goes like this.  We started with a quick lecture on reeds- what they are, why they're used, how the plant becomes a basket and how to take care of it when it's done and woven.

First we made our base...
True to Paige-Gauge form, mine was way too tight and she made me loosen it up.  I protested a bit- what if I wanted it that tight?  I was glad I changed it though, setting the foundation for a much larger basket than the one I was attempting to make.
Then we wrapped a twine thing around the corners and started pulling the reeds up to make an actual basket and not a flat, woven wall-hanging.  The first couple rounds were stressful- the warp reeds wanted to lay back down and the weft reeds had no idea what was happening and just wanted to curl up at the angle of their choosing.

*I'm using loom-weaving terms.  Does that work for basket weaving?  I don't know enough about basket terminology to use it, so I'm just going with the weaving I know.
Got a few inches in and it was time to start adding our colors.  She suggested 3 and we were supposed to break up the colors with natural reeds in the middle.  But I've never been much of a pattern-follower. She saw my color choices and strongly suggested leaving out the dark blue, but I told her that I really loved the orange, and I needed the blue to complement the orange.

I'm sure she thinks I'm a little bit nuts and should probably have gone with 1-2 colors, but this is my basket, darn it! (Later on my mom called it my Easter basket and my friend Greg called it my Gay Pride basket)

A few more rounds of the natural reed and we began the top, which you really need 5 hands to do.  Since I only have 2, it was awkward and time consuming, but all in all, I'm really pleased with my first basket.
The very open weave at the bottom....
Was easily hidden by a knitting project! What a surprise!
So...I really had a great time basket weaving today.  If you're in the Indy area, I highly recommend Willowe's Basketry & Yarn Haus as a place to start.  The class was a great deal for the supplies you use and the attention you get- there was 2 of us for 3 hours and she was there working with us the whole time.
I'd love to do a little more basket weaving in the future, but I don't see it taking over my life the way knitting has (and quilting is starting to). I mean seriously- how many baskets do you need?  But if you have 3 hours to kill and want a project that you can actually finish in one sitting...this is the way to go.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shaken Up

So there's been quite a bit going on in my life in the past month, and while change is great and I love the way things are headed, it means I'm not getting a whole lot of crafting time, and even less for writing about it.

I turned 25 at the end of May.  I know that's still young but I had a goal- or at least an idea of how my life would be at 25.  I would be the owner of a successful small business.  Good For Ewe is on the right track but it was a slow year.  I'm super thankful for my part-time job seasonal job that has turned into a full-time year round job.  They are also aware of my real business and that during my busy season I can't be there 60 hours a week and my flexibility is....non-existent. So I'm not horribly off there at least.

I would be in a fabulous relationship and living with my fabulous partner/fiance/husband in  our adorable little cottage in Broad Ripple which we would work on during the nights and weekends because fixing up an old house is something we both have always wanted to do. The reality is: I can't afford to move out of my parents' house because I spent all my savings on starting a company. And Rob and I had very different ideas on this whole living situation, but that doesn't matter anymore as we broke up on the 3rd day of our Paris trip.

I was going to adopt an adorable little rescue dog that I could stick in my giant purse and take to the Farmer's Market with me.  Never mind that it's been  years since I went to a Farmer's Market but that was going to be something that started happening when I turned 25.  I think I won this one...I have the world's coolest cat Madeline and my mom recently adopted a little tiny rescue dog who is adorable and high-energy and not something I necessarily want to deal with all the time. I love her to pieces, but I'm glad she's not my full-time responsibility.

I would have read all the Salmon Rushdie, Faulkner, and David Sedaris novels in existence by now, as well as be an expert on all things Shakespeare.  
Eh- I'm mostly there with the Rushdie and Sedaris. 

I would have well-behaved hair and wear fabulous dresses and high heels everywhere.  Seriously?  Am I Carrie Bradshaw?  I did shake things up here and cut off most of my hair- and I love it.  It takes a whole 10 minutes to dry and style and I won't feel so guilty about changing the color all the time and damaging it. And I bought a few new dresses for good measure which I do wear as often as possible. 
The reality is that life is not how I envisioned it would be at this point.  And I'm really really okay with that.  I work 2 jobs but I love them both.  I'm single but I have some really great girlfriends, and yeah, I'm the last single girl left of them but they're still super supportive and are helping me get ready for my first big trade show with my new company that is small but growing.  I do wish I had my own place but I'd rather spend my money on paying back loans and putting some in savings right now. I'll get there soon enough. 

So...moving on.  I went to Paris! I had a really nice time there, despite the weather being terrible and breaking up with Rob on the third day.  We have been growing apart since he started grad school around Thanksgiving, and I got to see him *maybe* once a week.  So it's sad but it's not like my life has changed dramatically.  There has been someone that I've been talking to but I'm not sure if it's going anywhere.  Perhaps after the trade show I'll sign up for an online dating site.  But I'm rambling...Paris. 

We went for a friend's wedding and it was chilly, but lovely.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures...
And lastly, what I've been making lately...
Okay- I'm heading out for a quick run before work.  Need to lose that 4 pounds I picked up in Paris (curse you, Nutella and Banana Crepes!)