Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Squeezing it all in.

Just a quick post about the craziness of getting ready for Stitches. I think I'm ready. . . I was slightly surprised to count up the total number of kits I've added to inventory just for Stitches. I've got 80 new bolo kits and 157 new knit with wire kits. Lots of amethyst and turquoise which is always popular with my customers.

Just a little concerned that I'll be able to fit all of this in the car. I have Melissa coming later with her van to take overflow, but I have to have all my display stuff and some of every style to start off and it has to all fit in my '98 Honda Civic. Plus me, my suitcase, and my husband who is taking off work to help me set up. I'm almost wondering if the empty seat in the car is worth more to me than my husband's muscles. After all, I can always use a little exercise.

I will post a pic after the car is packed . . .

I still have to make a few new signs, pack boxes, and work on the paper that is due for my Grad school class on Tuesday after Stitches. . . . and squeeze in a visit with my college roommate who is here from California for her annual trip to Wisconsin.

Better run. . .

Monday, August 18, 2008

I get by with a little help from my friends

I am so blessed! My knitting buddies have been bending over backwards to help me get ready for Stitches. Last week, I invited Lynn and Kathy over for lunch and knitting, but they decided they'd rather help me pack kits. They saved me hours of work. Then Melissa called a few days later and offered to pack kits on Saturday. Between the 4 of us, we added more than 100 kits to my inventory for Stitches.

Melissa has also volunteered to be my helper at Stitches. We'll be driving down separately because she has to work on Thursday, but she's coming right from work to join me at the market preview. She'll be helping me manage the crowd on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My husband is driving my car back to Wisconsin after he helps me unload and set up on Thursday, so we will be taking Melissa's van back on Sunday.

It's hard to believe that there once was a time in my life when I felt I didn't have many women friends. When I was in my late 30's, I found that my high school and college friends had mostly moved or drifted away due to marriage, children, job changes. I found new friends through an activity that most people think of as isolating and anti-social--knitting. The women that I found through my Monday night knitting group are far from the old-fashioned knitter stereotype. They are fun-loving, funny, witty, supportive, creative, kind, charitable, honest and open. They are, in short, the kind of people I'm proud to call friends.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Great Milwaukee Knitting Guild

No, guild members, that isn't a typo in the title. I know you are the Greater Milwaukee Knitting Guild, but I'd like everyone to know you are really and truly great.

I did a vendor appearance/presentation on knitting with wire at the Milwaukee Guild last night, and I had an absolutely wonderful time. It was great to see Melanie, Susan, Jean, and other knitting buddies from the days when I was a member. I was impressed by their program events and ideas --they are doing a bus trip to Stitches, and Vivian Hoxbro will be visiting them in October.

I plan on being there for the Hoxbro visit; she is fantastic! (Fortunately, it will be held on a Thursday instead of a Tuesday, so I'll be able to make it.) They also talked about a year long guild competition, with the category being "something made with beads." What a great idea! Hmmm. Maybe that's why so many of them bought my kits. I hope I will be helping someone win.

Someone there also mentioned that a GMKG member won a ribbon at the Wisconsin State Fair in the jewelry category for making one of my knit with wire kits. I'd love to find out who it was and get a picture of the winning item for this blog. I'm always most proud of my customer/student successes. Their success and words of thanks are what keep teacher types like me going. Guild members were most appreciative of my visit and had many kind words to say to me, to which I can only reply, "No, you've got it backwards. I thank YOU!"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Midwest Fiber and Folk

I'm finally posting my pictures from Midwest Fiber and Folk, which was held
July 18-20. What a great festival. I wished I could have been both a vendor and an attendee at the same time. I loved the combination of Folk music with the fiber festival. There were an incredible number of vendors, a variety of fiber arts were represented, although it was mostly yarn. I worked the event by myself, so it meant I really had no time to see much. I only saw a few booths and the mainstage/cafeteria area as I dashed to the bathroom or made a food run while my neighbors watched my booth.

Speaking of my neighbors, let me introduce you to Karen. An amazing woman who runs her own spinning supplies business with her husband, despite being legally blind. I find it inspiring and humbling to meet people like her.

Doing these fiber fairs is hardwork. I was exhausted when I got home. I found this one to be particularly tiring because of the long hours (Friday 4-9, Saturday 9-7 and Sunday 9-5) and because I was working alone. Still, I would do it again.

I had good sales and happy customers. Here is one of them. She was another vendor, but I'm afraid I don't know her name or what booth she was at. She bought a kit on Sunday morning and came back in the late afternoon to model her completed work. (She's wearing "Chain, Chain, Chain" in Quartz Crystal and Pearl) I'm so proud of her!

I took a few other shots of my booth because I'm always asked for booth shots for juried shows. These aren't the best examples of booth set up for me though--the outdoor setting puts some limits on set up and presentation and its difficult to take a shot that shows just my booth without my neighbor's booth in the background. Still these pics are good for showing you what the festival is like, and my life as designer/manufacturer/PR person/sales and marketing manager/web master/President of Knitter's Journey, LLC.

Finally having recovered from Midwest Fiber and Folk, I'm gearing up for the big one. Stitches Midwest, T-17 days and counting. Hope to see some of you there.