It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve managed to wrangle a few minutes to write a Friday post, but I have good reasons. One big reason is because I’ve been super busy with our spring launch! All the other reasons are here (looong, pent-up picture post to follow):
Around the World in 80 Skeins
Two weeks ago, Kimberly from “Around the World in 80 Skeins” came to visit us at the studio. What this girl is doing is pretty amazing. She’s organized a worldwide blog tour and traveling from her home base of San Diego to visit knitwear designers, fibre artists, and hand dyers in almost 20 different countries. Kimberly was super easy to chat with and you can watch our video interview here or see all the destinations she’s planned for 2015.
Yarn Market News Smart Business Conference
For several years now, I’ve been meaning to attend this conference… especially since it comes around to Seattle every couple of years. It’s practically in my backyard. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Yarn Market News, it’s a magazine put out by Soho Publishing (same people who publish Vogue Knitting and who host VK Live) and it’s geared specifically to yarn shop owners. What an awesome resource to have! And so they host this business conference every spring, bringing together yarn shop owners from all over the country. Many of the shops we work with were there so it was so nice to meet our customers face-to-face. Like, I sat next to John Koval from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas for an entire day and he was great to chat with. And on the other side of me was Sasha Ball Rives from Stitch Space who was wearing a shawl she designed in a yarn that we custom dyed for her shop! By the way, if you’re in Missouri, do stop by Stitch Space… they are moving into their new location this weekend!
The speakers at YMN that stood out for me included a retail store designer from Disney (I think they are called visual merchandising experts), Tara Gentile (business coach) who talked a lot of about the unique differences between three local craft breweries in Astoria, Nora Abousteit (founder of Kollabora), and a trend forecaster from a French company called Promostyl. Her talk was quite dense… about the new trends and colours that are going to be popular in the next year or two. I’ll have more to say about that soon, but here’s a sneak preview… believe it or not, there’s lots of “flesh” tones and khaki kinds of colours on the horizon.
As soon as the YMN conference finished up, most of the attendees hopped on a bus to do a yarn crawl around the Seattle area. I had to get on the road and start heading back to Vancouver right away, but Andrea and Andrew at Apple Yarns (have you seen their new website?) encouraged me to swing by Makers’ Mercantile since it was a mere 10 minutes away from where we were. SUCH a great idea! They were located in a sort of “corporate park” type area in the East Valley of Seattle. And what an inspiring space. It’s pretty wide open and inviting when you walk in and you’re surrounded by yarns, fabrics, and notions… but then in the back, there is a gluten-free (and sometimes vegan) bakery that served Stumptown Coffee. On the side, there is a massive teaching space as well as a separate room that served as a café area. So wonderful.
I had myself a beautiful bowl of roasted tomato soup and lime coconut bar while I restrained myself from buying souvenir fat quarters. So hard. There were gorgeous Japanese cotton/linen fat quarters…
Two days later, I made my way downtown, fighting Vancouver traffic to make it to a business accelerator that I’m part of. It’s hugely inspiring to be in a room with other passionate and creative entrepreneurs… but I have to say, I don’t miss being in downtown Vancouver. I paid $22 for 3 hours of parking… and then because I was 15 minutes late getting back to my car, I got a $60 parking ticket. Not my idea of money well spent. But in any case, let me redirect your attention to a beautiful and heartfelt video produced by one of the companies in our accelerator program. I’ve watching it several times already, bawling every time I do.
Right after the business accelerator morning, I drove straight to Cloverdale to help our crew set up for Fibres West. This year, Fibres West graduated to the big building (!) and we got to enjoy the brand new floor that was recently installed! Yay, to no dirt floors! It’s always great to have this one event every year where the the spinners come out.
Also this year, I was so pleased to see Kislan from Kinfolk Yarns and Fibres hold a booth with all her beautiful hand-dyed yarns and fibres. Kislan had been a long-time student at Place des Arts and I had the great pleasure to be her instructor for a couple sessions. Every week she would bring stunningly gorgeous hand-dyed and handspun yarns to class for show-and-tell. Her novelty, textured yarns were spun as perfectly as her traditional 2- and 3-ply yarns. There wasn’t much I could teach her. Her stuff was freaking awesome. See the evidence…
I was happy to snag a skein of her hand-dyed “Steadfast Merino Sock Yarn” (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon) in Bordeaux. It’s got a smooth and sproingy feel to it while still feeling strong. It seems like an ideal yarn to knit into socks. If you’re interested in a new and up-and-coming hand-dyer, I would encourage you to check out her Etsy shop »
And here’s a little smile for the weekend. Emily Read, the model for Tin Can Knits, finds a little Spock in her cash at Fibres West. Happy Friday. Where are you off to this weekend?