Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hello TNNA!

This month I attended my first trade show as a member of the SweetGeorgia Yarns team! I have never travelled for work before, and this was an exciting learning experience for me!

I went to San Diego this January with my co-workers Teresa and Ginny to The National Needlearts Association winter trade-show. We were there to talk to customers and wholesalers, meet designers, and create new connections with yarn stores across North America.

Travelling was not as crazy as I anticipated. I can be a nervous traveller - I am not afraid of airplanes, and in fact I love car rides, but all the formality and structure of airport security and the tight time constrictions stress me out. Teresa's little boy Matthew was a joy to travel with; for an 11 month old, he was surprisingly quiet. He just wanted to crawl around; having to sit in a lap for long periods of time seemed to be his biggest complaint. And Ginny managed to catch a nap on too.

I had the time on the plane to finish up a few projects - another perk of travelling.

The convention was really interesting but a lot of hard work as well! We set up the booth the day before the convention started. It was so nice to see all our beautiful colours, fibres, and yarns out for display!

Our booth featured our new spring colours, as well as some advances in our yarn bases. We could our retailers what these colours and bases look like in person - it can be difficult to judge colour and texture from a photo or computer screen. I got the chance to meet some of our clients and other links in our network. It was great to finally be able to put a face to some names! I also met some wonderful knitwear designers - I left the convention each night feeling inspired and excited to work on a new project or design.

San Diego was is a huge, beautiful city and I really wish I could go back there as a vacation-er. I would have loved to visit Legoland, the Wild Animal Park, the Chuck Jones Gallery and explored Old Town. We stayed at a really nice hotel, close to the sea-wall and the ocean. The weather was phenomenal - we bathed in sunshine and heat every day instead of Vancouver's drizzly overcast greyness.

Oh yeah, and the food was awesome.

However, nothing beats coming home. I was pretty homesick for my cats and husband by the time we left. We had a short layover in San Francisco on the way home, then it was back home to Vancouver!

- Grace

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Happy Holidays

2013 is gone and the new year is upon us. My December holidays have finished up; I spent some quality time with family celebrating Christmas and Boxing Day, but New Years Eve found me sick at home with a cold. I have more exciting events lined up over the next few weeks, but right now I feel refreshed and ready to tackle this new year!

I travelled up north to visit my wonderful in-laws for Christmas. We have had a new addition to the family in the last few weeks, and it was wonderful getting to meet my new niece as well seeing how much my nephew has grown.

My husband and I treated my mother-in-law to a pair of 'Christmas stockings' (aka - we filled my husband's hiking socks up with presents)... we gave her of toys and hand-spun (of course)!

We brought up presents for the kids too - my favourite gift was the giant circus tent we set up in the living room!

Cameron worked on some of his own hobbies while I knitted. He paints miniature gaming figures and models in his spare time, and he finished up an 'army' of steampunk ladies while we were on holiday... you can check out his blog if you would like to see more!

My visits up north always include a lot of snow, shortbread and time to knit. I usually have a few goals planned I wish to achieve while I am on 'Christmas Break', and this year I got a few new projects finished and started.

I FINALLY finished the Goat Coat! I seamed it Christmas Day and blocked it the next morning. It felt terrific to be to share the final moments of creation of this project with my father-in-law, who tracked me down the original mountain goat hide I used in this project. I don't have any final photos yet - this project will be getting it's very own blog post in the near future - but you can check out my last work-in-progress photo below...

I also worked on a few new patterns that have been simmering in the back of my mind the last few months. I shouldn't be giving away any details yet, but I think you should be able to expect two hats and a cowl in the near future! One of the hats is knit with one skein of SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash Worsted yarn which I completed while riding on my mother-in-law's stationary bike - I needed to work off some of those molasses cookies!

The other two projects are made with some beautiful alpaca and shetland wool that I have been graciously supplied with from an independent company in the states. I just love working with this material... I really forward to finally finishing up these designs!

The last project I was able to start was another sweater in my own hand-spun. On my second day dyeing at SweetGeorgia, I accidentally dyed an entire pound of Merino Bamboo Silk a little too blotchy. However, I feel in love with the incorrect dye job and bought the whole lot of roving. I spun the entire pound spun it as a sport weight two ply yarn a few months ago, and I finally had the chance to turn it into the garment I wanted. I cast on a Talamh cardigan on Christmas Day, and I finished the body on New Years Eve. I am hoping it will only take a few days to finish off the sleeves...? More photos will be coming soon!

Happy New Year everyone! I will be hitting the spinning wheel again very shortly and I can't wait to start off 2014 with a look into some new fibres...

- Grace