Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spooky Fun

Happy Halloween!
I am a moderate Halloween devotee. In large part because we don't get many trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, and my favorite part (as an adult) has always been handing out candy and seeing what cute, scary, and/or inventive costumes the little ones wear.
But I do have a "costume" of my own - it's a cat-face headband (ears, nose, whiskers). I put it on when I hear someone coming into the shop (because otherwise the air around my nose gets a little to warm to breathe, and I can't get my soda can anywhere near my mouth).

But this year, we're doing something extra fun! Remember when I mentioned plying the seven seas (one ocean)? Well, the programming faeries/godesses/mavens at YoHoHo Puzzle Pirates have given us a competition. We'll be fighting zombies and skeletons this evening, trying to win fun prizes for our pirates. The competition started about 10 days ago, so tonight will determine who goes home with the "Book of Zombie" (1st place), and who goes home with the "Zombie Chowder" (7th place). If you want to learn more, just click the Puzzle Pirates logo on the right.

Okay, off to hunt the evil undead. Tomorrow: What happened with that event almost two weeks ago? and What kind of trouble did Susan get into shopping at The Needlework Show?

Happy Hauntings!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Can I have a Do-Over?

I'd like a do-over for the last month or so. Not that anything went wrong, it just seemed to go by so fast I feel like I'm missing a month. Actually, I started feeling like this last Christmas (which kind of snuck up on me). But it didn't get to feeling like a month or more until this summer. And September was a pretty good month, so I'd like to pick that one to do over.

So my reason for no blogging in September is that it just swept by too quickly to blog. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

This is always a busy time of year for us. The shop gets busier because everyone's thoughts turn to spinning and weaving and knitting and ..... Then there are the yarn reps who come up to tempt me with new yarns. And last (but not least) it is craft show season.

Our first show was this past weekend (Oct. 12-13). While we only do three heavy hitting shows, there's always some drama - like:

- "where did the leftover polymer clay pens from last year get packed?"

- "honey, I just designed something new. how much should we charge? no you can't sell these first two, or you'll have nothing to show people. you have to take orders"

- "what do you mean we ran out of tags? sure, I can print more tonight (I think I have the right labels)"

Now the big question that occurs is why, when I know it's coming, when I know we need more stock, when I know summer would be a great time to be baking polymer clay (because I could do it outside where there's more than enough ventilation), why do we leave it all to the last minute. OK, the DH gets a break on the first piece of drama (see above) - we both thought we knew what box those pens were in, so they were supposed to just be a "grab and go." Turns out we'd taken them over to one of the galleries to bulk out their existing stock of my polymer clay creations. Ooops!

But still, it would be nice to be more on top of this for a change. Well, maybe next year. (Yes, there are still shows left this year. But let's face it, I'm already behind, and I've added an "event" this year that's this coming Saturday, for which I have no prior framework so I'm winging it. The idea of just "catching up" is sounding pretty good. Getting in front of the curve - not likely.)

And before everyone screams about the lack of photos, I'm having downloading problems with the old camera. It's probably time to break down and get a new one, but the one I really want is an SLR digital in the $600-800 range. (sigh)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

And August Gets One...

Well, at least there'll be one post for August . . .
OK, the fair did me in. Too many late nights, too many people, too much talking . . . and I came down with that bug. Yes, THAT bug. It knocked me out for a week, and left me coughing hard for another (still coughing, but not so bad now). You'd think that would have given me lots of time to blog. But that would have required the ability to think coherently. So, no blogging until now.

And now, I have a real bone to pick with one of my vendors. Names will not be revealed, but they'll know who they are. Yarn manufacturers hire representatives (reps) to take sample books and new patterns/products to yarn shops to convince the shop owner/buyer to stock their products. These are basically independent contractors who have to cover all their own travel expenses, and hope they make it back in commissions.

Now, in Alaska, we don't see many yarn reps. In fact, until just over two years ago, I hadn't seen one up here. But this really nice yarn rep told her manufacturers that she would love to rep them in Alaska because, basically, she likes Alaska, and this would give her a good reason to fly up twice a year. And except for the fall when she came down with pneumonia (poor dear), that's exactly what she's done - lugging lots of "excess" luggage filled with yarn, button, fiber and fabric samples, as well as copies of all the new patterns and such (only the airlines think the luggage is excessive, btw).

Well, we just got word that, as of Oct. 22, she will no longer rep products for a particular vendor (you know who you are). I'm not sure why they think they don't need her. I just e-mailed them this morning to find out what they have to say for themselves. (I'll let you know what, if any, response I get.)

Perhaps they have forgotten how much their sales depend on us shop owners actually seeing and feeling the yarns, etc. And not just a little cut strand, but a knitted swatch and a full skein of the yarn. Or perhaps they haven't realized just how expensive it is for Alaskan shop owners to travel to trade shows. Sure, I can spend $800 to fly to Long Beach (or Columbus, or San Diego), and fork over the same for a hotel room. But that really cuts into the yarn buying budget.

Now, the good news is that this particular rep, like most others, reps several other companies, so we'll still be seeing her at least this November. And hopefully, she'll still be able to meet expenses and keep coming up twice a year. Who knows? Maybe another company will contract her services, and we'll see some completely new yarns up here. Still, I'm kind of anxious to see what this particular vendor says about dropping this rep. I sure hope it isn't a trend.

**Update: Just heard back from the vendor. This is apparently "part of a periodic review we make of all territories." Let's hope the changes they announce "very soon" will be good ones.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Okay. So, the fifth Harry Potter movie opened ("Order of the Phoenix"), and I went to see it with my DH. It was good, but I was really glad to have re-read the book before seeing the movie. Those who haven't read the book may find the movie a bit disjointed. Of course, that's bound to happen when you turn an 870 page book into a 2h45min movie.

After seeing the movie, I re-read book 6 ("Half-Blood Prince") in preparation for the release of the final installment - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Went to the release party with a friend. (We got our line numbers, wandered around a bit, then spent several hours at College CoffeeHouse - thank goodness they're open until midnight on Fridays.) We then stood in line for a rather short time (considering we had numbers 215 and 216), got our books and headed for home. I let my DH have dibs on this book as I got to read #6 first when it was released. He started it Saturday morning, and handed it to me Saturday evening (done in under 12 hours). I was finished by Monday evening. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet, but I will say that it was a very satisfying read.

And having got myself deeply into book mode, I have also now finished "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini and have just started "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke.

Just as we finished the last Harry Potter book, we started preparing for an event at the Georgeson Botanical Garden. They were having a flowers and fiber event which included a floral-themed quilt show. I spent much of the week preparing "color boxes" (what I call my deli boxes filled with dyed wool roving in 8 harmonious colors) in six of our colorways. I also helped my DH warp a loom for demonstrating. And then there was the packing up of all the goodies, samples, and notecards for sale at the event. It was pouring rain when we got up Saturday morning and took everything up to the gardens. We got quite wet hauling everything to and from the truck. But the weather decided to cooperate, and by a little after 9am the sun was coming out.

And now with Fair week approaching, we are busy helping the Fairbanks Weavers' and Spinners' Guild with judging (that was Sunday 7/29), and soon with booth sitting and demos. Which means over the next few days I need to figure out what I want to demo at the booth and get all my tools and materials ready. Shall I take a wheel or just spindle? Shall I take the Ashford Knitters' Loom or an inkle loom? Maybe I should do some needlefelting? Oh, and I need to plan my attack on the Fair food - got to have an Elephant Ear, a filled crepe, chocolate covered strawberry .... Decisions, decisions, decisions ...

Probably won't see you until after the Fair (which runs Friday 8/3 thru Saturday 8/11). Hope you all get a chance to get there. Be sure to check out the competitive exhibits at Badger Hall - including Weaving & Spinning, Needlework, and Knitting & Crochet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Harry Potter Countdown

Haha, this might be a cop-out of a blog post, but I just had to, HAD to have this on my blog page.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bad Blogger, Bad, Bad Blogger . . . with Links

OK, I've been horrible. I just realized it hasn't been ONE month since I posted, it's now been TWO months.

I don't have any really good excuses, though I could give you a string of bad ones.
Including the afternoon I spent at the ER (which should have been blogged about, but hasn't, and at this point probably won't be).
I could tell you about being sucked into an alternate universe where I'm a pirate sailing on the seven seas (well, actually one ocean, but you can see for yourselves).
I could tell you I've been too busy gardening, but those who've seen how much space there is for gardening here will call me out on that.

So, I've been a bad, bad blogger. And I won't make promises I can't keep, so I'm not going to tell you that I've changed and will now be blogging regularly. I'd like to tell you I'll blog at least once a week from here on out. That is now my goal, but not a promise.

In the meantime, I'd like to encourage anyone reading this blog to check out this post on the Yarn Harlot about blogging -- I think it's fabulous! Also, for those of you looking for great knitting pics, garden pics, and knitting patterns (not free, but worth every penny) check out knitspot -- Anne's a great blogger, and lovely person.

Hope you all got a good fix that can hold you for however long it takes until my next post. (Yeah, I know, no pictures. Got some to download, though, so there is hope.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


OK, it's been bugging the bejeepers out of me that my archive list showed all my posts as 13 months before they were posted (i.e. February 2006 instead of March 2007). So I've surrendered to the work-around - I have changed my settings to Pacific Daylight Time. So now the only thing wrong with my posts is the timestamp, which shows me posting an hour later than I am (it's sort of like posting in the future from my perspective).

One day, Blogger will figure out how to let Alaskans post in our own timestamp, and archive to the right month. Until then, I will post in the future.


Just a quick update.

Nothing has been blocked. No more knitting has happened on the Kid Merino scarf. Tax day has come and gone.

This week is all preparation for the Valley Fiber Arts Guild Spring Retreat in Wasilla. Selecting and packing projects, fiber, spindles, yarn, looms, fiber, felting needles, . . . and did I say FIBER.

Oh yeah, I suppose I should pack some clothes, too.
"See you" when I get back.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We have Photos!!

OK, so it's been kind of busy since last I blogged. And there was a bit of a disappointment in there. But I promised you all photos, so let's start with a couple of scarves.

This is the UNblocked scarf knit with SWTC's new Inspiration yarn. It was a dream to work with. And, even with this 16-row repeat lace pattern from Ann Norling, it practically knit itself (after the first couple of repeats, of course).
"Technical" Details: two (2) skeins Inspiration in color #395-Success, size 5 needles, cast on 39 stitches.

This is a one skein scarf of Kid Merino from Crystal Palace Yarns. The two-row repeat lace pattern is from One Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn Shop Favorites.
"Technical" Details: one (1) skein Kid Merino in color #4683-Canyon, size 8 needles, cast on 49 stitches.

Now for the disappointing news - my beautiful basket did not get juried into the Interior Artisans Exhibit. I am sad for the basket. I suspect that it just didn't fit with the other entries visually. But it is a fine basket and will be given a place of honor in the shop. This is HipHip -

See? Beautiful, functional, and with really cool handles.

A Granny-Along project update is forthcoming. In the meantime, does anyone out there use AOL? If so (because I don't), where's the address bar to type in a URL? I need to pass the info to someone so they can see my blog.

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Still No Photos

Oh my goodness! Will this woman ever post photos to her blog?!?!?

Well, I spent a large portion of the weekend working on granny squares for the Granny Along. My first project is ready for assembly (it's a very non-traditional use of two granny squares). My second project is a sampler of sorts. I'm working a lot of the blocks (actual number still to be determined) from 200 Crochet Blocks in white. That's right just white. And it's thread, not yarn, on a size 7 steel crochet hook. (I hope I don't go blind doing this.)

I do need to spend some time on more shop samples (although Granny Along project #1 actually is a shop sample because of the yarn used - Vickie Howell's ROCK). I have in progress a one-skein lacy scarf in Crystal Palace Yarns' Kid Merino. The pattern is from One Skein Wonders (with patterns from shops around the US).
I also have a yummy sage green scarf done in South West Trading Company's new Inspiration yarn (50/50 Alpaca/Soysilk) that lacks only the necessary blocking - which should happen this coming weekend.

I also have a coiled basket to enter into our local juried artisan show Interior Artisans sponsored by the Fairbanks Arts Association. Entry deadline is Sunday, April 1. Fortunately, the basket is all ready, I just need to deliver it sometime between Friday and Sunday afternoon.

Photos soon, really.

Friday, March 23, 2007


OK, so here I am, with a blog of my own. This is no time for writer's block!

I own a small fiber arts shop in Fairbanks, Alaska - you can see more about that here ( (Eventually, I will learn how to put all those nifty links into these posts, but for now . . . )
I have a cat who is amazingly well-behaved around yarn, just don't wiggle it in front of her face.
I have a husband who is an amazing fiber artist in his own right - weaving, needlefelting, and now knitting and wet felting.

Oh, me? Well, I do a little of a lot - I spin (wheel and spindle), knit, crochet, felt (needle and wet), do most any form of needlework, and even weave a little (no, really, the DH is a much more accomplished weaver, and has the patience for warping looms that I often lack).

So I find myself here all because I decided to join the Granny Along ( and suddenly I'm in the blogosphere - not by necessity, just by proximity. You know,
1. log into blogger to log into the Granny Along.
2. now that you're in blogger, would you like a blog of your own?
3. you would? then please select all of these cool available features for your blog.

Almost two hours later (because I had to look at other blogs I like to decide on some of those cool features) I've nearly published my first post. There are no photos - yet. I have no concept of how often you can expect to see a new post here. This is all a mad scientist experiment - I hope it doesn't explode.