Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fibres West 2014

It's been WAY  too long since my late update. My apologies! I have written another post since January, but I have been lacking the photos to finally publish it.. but it's on it's way, I promise!

But for now, I can fill you in on the latest Vancouver 'yarny' event - Fibres West!

This spinning/knitting/fibre-craft convention takes place every spring in Cloverdale, Surrey, BC. It's full of local vendors, terrific classes, and tons and tons of friends I get to catch up with every year.

I used to just go as a shopper, but this year I also attended as a vendor! SweetGeorgia Yarns always has a booth there, and this Friday I helped shoppers find their yarn, fibre and patterns!

Don't worry - I got my fill of shopping done too... I returned on Saturday and filled my basket up with an assortment of goodies I can't find anywhere else!  Below is a photo of a sample of my haul:

- a handmade sock bag from Smith & Ewe
- 100g of hand-dyed merino and silk from Muse Fibre Works
- 2 oz of mohair locks from Blackcomb Fibre Farms
- 2 oz of "Taste The Exotic" blend from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts (Bison, Alpaca, Merino, Silk, and Quivit!)
- 100g of Vegan Cashmere from Vegan Yarn
- a vintage bone crochet hook from Alaska from Fibres Plus

.... and a cup-holder for my Ladybug from Birkeland Bros.

Ain't life grand?

Now I can't wait for Knit City, Vancouver's next big knitting event! I hope to see the same familiar faces and add a few more goodies to my stash...!


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

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gettin' Ready For Christmas!

As I alluded to in my last blog post, I celebrated part of Christmas a little early this year! Because I won't be able to see my immediate family on December 25th this year, my mom, my sister and her fiancée came over to my house for a early celebration last weekend.

Festivities started with Mom baking a batch of fudge in my kitchen - yum! Then we popped down-town to the big Christmas Market for some hot apple cider, delicious food, and gazing at some beautiful ornaments!

In earlier discussions we had talked about skating in Robson Square and walking to the giant Christmas tree at the Conference Centre that day, but after a few hours at the Market we were so cold that we decided to simply head back to my place for a nice quiet night indoors. We played some board games, ordered in dinner, and decorated my teeny little Christmas tree (there is a photo of it at the top of this blog post). My mom and I knitted while my sister worked on some Christmas cross-stitch - what a wonderful way to spend the evening!

We also took the opportunity to exchange presents. I had knit my sister a hat from some of my handspun I completed during Spinzilla:

I have been working on a new hat pattern lately - I used it to create a hat for my brother out of my own hand-dyed worsted yarn;

...and a hat for my dad from some handspun merino and silk I had.

Thanks Kevin for modeling those hats!

Since Mom has taken up knitting again lately, I spun her a skein of SweetGeorgia Yarn's 50% merino wool and 50% silk in the colourway 'Cypress'. We don't know what she is going to make with it yet - it's almost 100 grams of DK weight 3-ply yarn, so there is definitely enough to make a hat or a pair of mitts.

Poor, poor Kevin... I tried to make him a Jayne hat, but I had to recalculate the pattern (I wanted to use DK instead of worsted weight wool). Unfortunately my math was a little off, and I had to cast on another hat, and it wasn't done in time! However, I had to put something under the tree for him... luckily he has a sense of humour and doesn't mind getting his real hat a little late.

The next morning we had a huge brunch of crepes, bacon, and sausages, but the visit was over much too soon. I really missed my brother this weekend too - he couldn't make it over to the mainland because of school exams - boo! I can't wait to see my everyone again in January - I hope all my family has a great holiday, and at least this year we have Skype to help keep in touch!

I hope you are all having a wonderful time preparing for the holiday season!

- Grace

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Grace Takes Manhattan

This November, Mom and I went for a trip to New York! It was a one week girls trip to see the sights and celebrate American Thanksgiving.

We stayed in a hotel within walking distance of most of the big sights we hoped to check out - Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, the Natural History Museum, some outdoor ice skating, and the big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Also, there was LOTS of shopping in the area so we could score some Black Friday deals too.

On Day One, we arrived in New York at 8am. We found some breakfast and checked into the hotel - with an niceeee upgrade! We went from sharing a small one bedroom with a queen-sized bed to a HUGE suite with separate living room, kitchenette and a king-sized bed! That made our week there sooo much more comfortable.

In the afternoon, we did a little shopping and found me a decent winter coat from Macy's. After that, the cold never bothered me once.

The next day we took a big walk around the main part of town we were in. We found Times Square, the Theatre District, the Garment District, and saw all the Christmas lights on 5th Avenue. We ended off the tour with a visit through FAO-Schwarz and a peek at the Muppet Workshop!

Our big event on Monday was going to the Rockette's 'Christmas Spectacular' Show at Radio City Music hall. It's was wonderful! Thank you Mom sooo much for the tickets - what a treat!

On Tuesday we went for a giant walk! We walked from our hotel at 38th and Lexington to the Lower East Side to split a bagel and some maztah ball soup at Katz's deli. Then we crossed over to Soho and checked out Purl Soho. THEN we continued our walk into Chelsea, and checked out the Chelsea Market before walking north up the High Line. We found Madison Square Garden and visited the Cake Boss Cafe to nab some dessert for the evening. We took a long route home and relaxed in the hotel room that night.

Now you are probably wondering if ANY of this has to do with fibrecraft. Well, some of it does! This was the first time in years my mom has started a knitting project - a worsted weight scarf!

... and I took the opportunity that night to finish off a handspun hat for my dad too!

Over the next few days we checked out the American Museum of Natural History, took a pedi-cab tour of Central Park on a rainy day, scored some great Black Friday deals at Macy's, and finished off another hat (oh wait, that was just me. But Mom's scarf IS coming along wonderfully!)

And yes, the museum was chock-full of glorious ancient textiles from around the globe! The images before are just a few of the highlights of spinning and weaving that I came across:

Weaving and spinning in Africa:

 Camelids of South America (and an Rhea...?)

Spindles from South America:

My own spinning stayed at home this trip, but I got A LOT of work done on the Goat Coat. I am really hoping to have this projected wrapped up before Christmas!

If you would like to check out more photos from the trip, I have an album of our downtown adventures here and another of Central Park, the NY Public Library, and the Natural History Museum here. 

After a week of fun and excitement, we returned home safe and sound. But it wasn't long before I saw my mom again; we had an early Christmas celebration last weekend to make up for the time around the actual holiday we won't be able to spend together.

I hope you are all having a wonderful December - and I will get a proper post about Christmas up soon!

- Grace