Jan & Andee’s Chicago Adventure – Part 2

Since I’m now on the CGOA Board of Directors I am very involved with helping to plan the 2018 Chain Link Conference this coming July in Portland, OR. With that in mind, I thought I should get Part 2 of Jan and I’s Chicago adventure up on the blog.

When Jan and I heard that the 2017 Chain Link Conference was going to be held in Chicago we were very excited. Jan lived in Chicago for 10 years before she moved back East to be closer to her family. She says Chicago was one of her favorite places. I’ve always wanted to visit Chicago because of the Art Institute. They have an amazing collection there, especially of Impressionists (my favorites). I also am very interested in architecture and I knew that Chicago has some famous buildings.

Jan and I generally plan to travel on the Tuesday before the conference starts and then we stay an extra day if it is a place we want to explore. Being Chicago was definitely a place we wanted to explore we decided to stay 2 extra days. Honestly, a week extra is really needed to fully explore all downtown Chicago has to offer.

The first challenge we faced when planning our outings for our 2 days was how to best get from the Westin Hotel in Itasca to downtown Chicago. I was in favor of riding the El, but we still needed to get from the hotel to the nearest station. Fortunately this is where meeting Mike, the friendly cab driver, earlier in the week came in handy.

Jan had done all kinds of research for our 2 days to get the most out of the time we had to explore. Sunday we had reservations to go on an architectural boat tour on the river.

It was a great way to see a lot of the landmark buildings of downtown with a super informative guide (and without getting blisters on our feet).

It was amazing to me how much of Chicago’s impressive architecture is visible from the river.

Our second day was dedicated to the Art Institute.

Jan was a little worried that I was going to hyperventilate in the room where the Monet paintings were on display. I wasn’t really in trouble, but I was excited to see those paintings. Most of them I had only seen as photos in books.

It was wonderful to get close enough to the canvas and see how Monet had picked up various colors of paint in one brush stroke. Made my fingers itch to paint again.

It wasn’t just the Monets though, there were also many other paintings that I’ve always wanted to see. Like the beautiful “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte” by Georges Seraut. This is a massive canvas that took up most of one wall in the room with the Monets.

There was this lovely little painting by Degas, “Danseuse rose {Pink Dancer}“.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Chicago was the use of intricate metal working in the architectural details.  Jan had taken us on a specific path thru the city from the El to the Institute so I could see the beautiful Carson, Pirie,  Scott & Company store building (also known as the Sullivan Building). She was a bit horrified to realize it had been converted into a Target store. Though we were glad that the conversion was subtle, it had actually taken us sometime to realize it was a Target store and no longer the department store that Jan had known.

The Art Institute had many beautiful examples on display,

as well as some fascinating stone work.

We really could have spent a lot more time at the Art Institute, but our time was limited. I wanted to make it to the harbor to see Lake Michigan before we were heading back to our hotel.  I wasn’t able to get a really good photo of the lake, but I did get to see some ducks that were begging food off other harbor visitors.

Then we hiked back to our station to catch the El to head back to the hotel. We spent the evening discussing how we needed to do another trip to Chicago together as there were lots of other sites we never got to.

Later this summer I’ll have Jan and I’s next adventure to blog about when the 2 of us re-unite in Portland, Oregon at the 2018 Chain Link Conference. I hope you’ll be there too.

 

 

 

Ring Around the Posies

Springtime is in the air, today it is warmer up here on my mountain and the snow is melting. Of course it’s all a bluff as we will likely have more lots more snow before we are completely finished with winter weather. In the meanwhile it is time to celebrate my latest published pattern “Ring Around the Posies Skirt”, worked in Designing Vashti’s: Lotus Yarn, in the April issue of “I Like Crochet” online magazine.

This skirt is one of my most ambitious designs to be published so far. It’s an advanced level project written in 5 sizes and will definitely build your skills.  The most challenging aspect is the floral motif hemline, so I created placement and joining illustrations to help. These are offered as downloads in the sidebar of the pattern page.

This design includes a center back zipper. I have an article on adding a zipper to your crochet project in the same issue to help with this aspect. If you haven’t had a chance to get a subscription to “I Like Crochet” it is a great way to celebrate National Crochet Month.  Every issue is full of a variety of fun and exciting projects and your subscription allows you access to all the previous published issues as well.

Happy 2018!

Happy New Year all my dear readers.  We had a quiet family celebration, though my kids were excited to stay up until midnight. We tried to persuade them to watch the ball drop in Times Square Live on TV at 10p.m. Mountain Time, but they wanted to wait until midnight. I guess when you are 11 and nearly 15 staying up that late is a big deal. My youngest tends to wake up early no matter how late he goes to bed, so he was a bit tired on New Years Day.

I spent most of my New Year’s Eve Day crocheting. I was working on some design ideas for publication proposals. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a few of them in 2018 magazines. I’ve been crocheting some gifts for birthdays this week. 2018 is definitely beginning with lots of yarn fun.

On New Year’s Eve I went back to read my 2017 resolutions and reflect how well I had done with them over the year.

My 2017 resolutions were:

  1. Learn to do Calligraphy.
  2. Open my Etsy Shop.
  3. Clear out a lot of the clutter.
  4. Make more videos for my YouTube Channel.

Resolution 1 – Learning to do Calligraphy is still in the works, though I have gotten a lot more confident with it and other hand lettering. I’ve found that I am more comfortable with the flexibility of free-form hand lettering. Calligraphy has a lot of rules and I find I don’t have as much patience with that. I’ve learnt some of the basics and have been applying them to my free-form hand lettering attempts. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I’m creating the art work with words and images that I had envisioned, but I am moving in the right direction.

Resolution 2 – Open my Etsy Shop did happen, but I’ve since closed it. There were some security issues with their payment options that I wasn’t comfortable with. So I decided that wasn’t the right platform for me. I may eventually find another market place for my non-pattern items, but for now that has slipped down my priority list.

Resolution 3 – Clearing out a lot of the clutter. I have been steadily working away on this one, though some days I feel like I’ve made very little progress. There have been a few time-consuming set backs like the big Whooping Cough illness my entire family came down with in August that continued into October.

Resolution 4 – Make more videos for my YouTube Channel. Unfortunately another resolution that I didn’t do so well with. Technically I did make more videos for my YouTube Channel, only 1 was published though. 2017 was my technical difficulties year. I seem to have a knack for running into problems with both my camera and my editing software. I may primarily be dealing with a learning curve.

I don’t know that I am going to be setting resolutions so much this year. I’ll still have my “list” because it is the way my brain works, but I’m focusing my New Year’s energy more on abstracts this year. I’ve been thinking on this over the past week and I am going to realize this abstraction with single words.

I’ve picked 5 words for my 2018:

Gratitude

      Kindness

           Persistence

                  Compassion

                         Curiosity

2018 is starting off with some big excitement and brings the first word to the forefront. Today the winners of the CGOA Board seats were announced and I am one of them. I’m so grateful that the members of CGOA had confidence in me to serve on the board. I’m looking forward to learning more about what my role on the board will be. There will be some shuffling in my schedule to make sure I can fulfill my duties as well as keep up with my work, but it is a challenge I welcome.

This is the last weekend of the kids’ winter break from school, so I’ll be getting in a little more family time before we are once again doing the school schedule.

The Best of 2017

Time is running out on 2017 and it’s time to celebrate the best of the past year for many publications. I recently heard from the folks at “I Like Crochet” that my Cobbled Path Wrap was chosen as one of the “Spectacular Shawls” of 2017.

That design is one of my favorites. I came up with the idea for it about 5 years ago. I wanted to create the look of little motifs without having to weave hundreds of tails in. You can get this pattern with a subscription to the “I Like Crochet” website.

You can see my design and the other “Best of 2017” winners at their website by clicking here.

Wishing all my dear readers a fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebration and a very Happy New Year in 2018.

Jan & Andee’s Chicago Adventure – Part 1

This summer has been all about traveling and it’s time to share some of the highlights from my trip to Chicago the last week of July. I had a great time, both at the CGOA Chain Link Conference and exploring downtown Chicago with Jan.

The conference was full of wonderful reunions with lots of my crocheting friends. Though once again I barely took any photos with my friends. I had 4 big commitments at the conference: Wednesday I was presenting at Professional Development Day, Friday & Saturday morning I had marvelous classes with Myra Wood, and Saturday evening I produced the Fashion Show for the Banquet. Then there were the evening events: CGOA Business Meeting, Market Preview and the Excellence in Crochet Awards.

My flight got in just after noon on Tuesday at Midway airport, so I needed to get across Chicago almost all the way to O’Hare airport. For those of you wondering, I flew into Midway because I try to always fly with Southwest Air and they don’t fly into O’Hare. I really lucked out though, I contacted AllStar Cab Dispatch and arranged to get a lift with one of their flat rate suburban drivers. My driver was Mike, he was helpful, friendly and we had a great chat driving across Chicago. I got a card from him in case Jan and I needed a cab later during our visit.

Jan and Pam were flying in a little later than me to O’Hare, so we had all decided that we would go out to dinner to PF Changs before the general madness of the conference started the next day. We had hoped to take the hotel shuttle, but the timing didn’t work with our evening, so I told them “I know a guy.”  “How is that possible? You’ve been in Chicago like 5 minutes!”. Was a great laugh and our first call to Mike for a cab ride to and from dinner.

The next day was Professional Development Day and I was presenting in the afternoon. The morning started with presentations from Tamara Kelly of Moogly about social media then Nirmal about managing financial tasks for our business. Nirmal gave away fun little acupressure finger rings that everyone loved.

The afternoon was mini sessions of 6 different topics. 3 topics were presented in the first half of the afternoon and the other 3 were presented in the last half of the afternoon. Each topic was presented 2 times allowing attendees to sit in to 4 topics. My topic was “Super Submissions” and my 2 presentations went well. I enjoyed sitting in on Kathy Lashley’s and Cari Clement’s  presentations after I was finished with mine.

Wild Women of Crochet: (left to right) Amy Shelton, Tammy Hildebrand, Laura Krzak & Donna Hulka

That evening I went out to dinner while Jan went to a class. Laura K lives in the Chicago area, she wasn’t able to come to the conference due to work and family obligations, but she wanted to get some of us together for dinner at her favorite restaurant. We had a lovely dinner and lots of fun laughing and catching up.

The next morning I was up bright and early for my first class with Myra Wood and that afternoon I started working on the Fashion Show.

Most of my free time at the conference was spent zipping around getting things together for the Fashion Show. I had a small room with 2 tables and garment racks to organize the fashion show entries. That room would also be our changing room during the show. The photo above is what it finally looked like about 1 hour before the banquet was scheduled to start. It was a bit of tight squeeze once we had all the models in there, but Jan and I made it work.

This year was a bit different from the other fashion shows I have been involved with at the conference. We didn’t have a runway for the models to walk. Instead they were on a small stage with our MC (the lovely Melissa Leapman), then they walked around the banquet room while the next model was on stage. To help the audience know which garment was which I decided they would carry signs with the name of the garment on them.

Initially I was going to hand letter the signs, but fortunately the brilliant Pia Thadani stepped in and typed the signs for me on the computer and we were able to have them printed at the registration desk. Pia and I even had a moment to clown around together afterward.

Despite all the running around I managed to get some shopping in. Especially the evening of the Market Preview. There were some familiar faces and some reunions with vendors I hadn’t seen in a few years.

My friends at Artisanal Yarns were there with lovely yarns.

I had to adopt a couple hanks of the silk blends with sparkly beads in them. I’ve got a couple of ideas of what these beauties will become.

Remember this photo? This was taken at the Reno Knit & Crochet Show in 2012. The very young Harrison Richards and his amazing Furls hooks.

Well he and his company are all grown up and were there for the Chicago show. He had a beautiful booth set-up and lots of wonderful new products. His was one of the busiest booths the evening of the preview, so I had to grab a moment Friday afternoon to take some photos.

My magpie eye of course went right to the shiny colorful CandyShop hooks and accessories.

The Odyssey hooks, accessories and lovely wooden yarn bowls were enticing as well.

Harrison was taking pre-orders for his new colors of the Odyssey hooks. Bet you can’t guess which one I ordered. Nope, not the pink, though it was a near thing.

Harrison insisted that we needed a photo together. I joked that I felt like I was his proud mom. So happy to see him doing so well.

I stopped in for a little bit of shopping Friday and Saturday. Jan kept finding things in the market, then tempting me to add to my collection. We are really rather dangerous together.

I had to get these crochet hooks, I don’t know that I’ll crochet with them, but the handles and colors were so pretty. I think they are going to look gorgeous on the wall in my design office. Jan bought the ones with black handles, but the pretty colors were calling my name.

I also purchased a bit more yarn. The Jenny King yarn is a little hard to find here in the US and it was a beautiful purple color.

Most of the yarn and goodies I brought home from the show were from the amazing goodie bags and give-a-ways at the various evening events. The night of the Excellence in Crochet Awards we were each given a huge bag full of all kinds of wonderful stuff. Yup, that is a wooden yarn bowl in there.

These were the yarns in my Crochetville bag that evening (sorry for the blurry photo). After the event was over there was lots of trading going on as everyone’s bag had different things in them. Jan and I received almost the same items, just different colors.

The evening of the business meeting each chair had a package of yarn. I received the bag of Bernat’s Mega in the gold color and a woman sitting in front of me gave me her bag of oyster colored.

The night of the banquet these were the goodies on my chair. I was very excited about the Bernat Maker Home Dec yarn because it was a color that would go very nicely with the 2 balls I had received the night of the Excellence in Crochet event.

A big Thank You to all the sponsors that donated so many wonderful products to the conference events. There were so many wonderful things that I’m still sorting thru everything. I had quite a time trying to fit it all in my suitcases for the flight home. I actually ended up giving some of the yarn to Laura K for her crochet group. They do blankets and other warm projects for charity, so I knew it would be well received and put to use.

The conference ended with the banquet Saturday evening. But Jan and I were not finished with Chicago yet. Jan used to live there and wanted to show me around downtown Chicago. Especially the Art Institute of Chicago. So we were both staying until Tuesday. That meant 2 days to explore downtown Chicago. I’ll tell you all about that in the next installment of Jan & Andee’s Chicago Adventure.

 

 

 

 

Flatirons Shawl

The Flatirons Shawl is my latest independent published design. This was what I was working on during our Mount Rushmore/Eclipse road trip. It is made with Theodora’s Pearls “Auxanometer” hand-dyed yarn, dyed in Longmont. This is a lovely rayon yarn that has beautiful sheen and drape in the finished project. Each hank contains approximately 400 yards of fingering weight yarn.

It is constructed of 3 triangles crocheted continuously from one triangle to the next, creating an asymmetrical wrap that has only 4 tails to weave in at the finish. There are 2 different lace patterns used to create the triangles and 2 colors of yarn to add textural interest. The triangles inspired the name “Flatirons” because of the dramatic rock formations bordering the Boulder Valley.

Back view of Kerchief wrap

Between the yarn and the shape this is an extremely wearable shawl. I tried styling it a number of ways on Collette.

Pinned Ends Cowl style

For this wearing option I pinned the two tips of the shawl at the back of the neck and made a doubled circle across the shoulders to create a cowl look.

Fastened with Shawl Pin

Then there is always the useful shawl pin option. This style really shows off the drape of the fabric and gives great coverage of the shoulders.

The pattern is an advanced intermediate level, so a definite skill builder. It involves working 4 row repeating lace patterns, decreases, color work, and changing direction of stitches. The pattern contains stitch charts for the lace pattern in each triangle as well as a detailed schematic for the edging directions.

Foothills Sunrise
Chautauqua Moonlight
Boulder Canyon
St. Vrain Trail

Today is the launch of this project at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe.  As part of their 5th year anniversary celebration the shop is doing kits of the above 4 different color combinations for $62 each. The pre-order of the kits starts today, September 5th thru September 17th. If you pre-order the yarn during this time the shop will provide a complimentary copy of the pattern. The yarn will be delivered to customers the week of the 25th.

Then I’ll be hosting the CAL starter party Saturday, September 30th from 2p – 4p at the shop. We will also have a thread in the Longmont Yarn Shoppe Ravelry group. So even if you live far from Longmont, Colorado you will be able to participate in the CAL and the pre-order of the yarn. Just call the shop to order your kit at 303-678-8242.

The color kits will still be available after the 17th, but will not include the complimentary pattern.  You will be able to purchase the pattern thru my Ravelry shop at any time.

 

 

Chasing the Moon

As I’m sure most of you know, this past Monday was the Solar Eclipse that traveled across the US. Being we are a family of geeks, and we live only 3.5 hours south of where the path of totality was (the pink dot is approximately where we are in Colorado), it was definitely time for one more road trip.

Our kids started back to school the previous week but Monday was only the 3rd full day of school for them. We decided that this was a great educational opportunity and they could miss a day at school. We weren’t the only ones. Many of the Colorado schools had students missing.

I have to give complete credit to my amazing husband for pulling this together.  He decided we should go to Rapid City, South Dakota and spend 2 nights there. That way we could visit Mount Rushmore and then drive down into Nebraska on Monday morning into the path of the total eclipse and watch it.

I had always wanted to see Mount Rushmore and hadn’t realized it was so close to us. It was about a 6.5 hour drive, not counting stops for gas and food. He had even ordered an Eclipse watching kit that included 5 pairs of eclipse glasses to look at the sun safely.

We left home about noon on Saturday and drove all the way to Rapid City, South Dakota. The drive was beautiful and I crocheted on a swatch for a new shawl design. We got to our hotel about 7 that evening, had a quick dinner then called it a night.

The next day we spent exploring Mount Rushmore. So gorgeous there, and we all hiked up the stairs that took us to the foot of the sculpture. I took that photo from about half way up, the closer we got to the sculpture the more challenging it was to get a good photo. The trees are pretty grown up around the base and the fact we were looking up the presidents’ noses, not ideal photography conditions. Still beautiful and well worth the hike.

My oldest stayed with me as I hobbled up the 255 stairs, turned out we had picked the wrong direction to go on the path, if we had started to the left side of the sculpture we would have been going down stairs most of the way. Ah Well. If you get a chance to visit there hopefully you will learn from my experience.

When we got back to the hotel later that afternoon I was ready to put my feet up and crochet. I’ve been asked by Longmont Yarn Shoppe to design a crocheted shawl to help celebrate their 5th year anniversary.  I had been swatching with the yarn trying to figure out the right stitch combinations. Having some quiet time in the hotel room was great and I finally got the swatch and math to cooperate.

Himself and the kids were playing in the water park that was attached to the hotel. I joined them later to soak in the hot tub and have some dinner at the pizza place.  After everyone was water-logged from swimming we went back to our hotel room and packed up in preparation for an early departure the following morning.

By 7:30 a.m. Monday we were on the road and headed South toward the predicted path of totality. There was quite a bit of traffic headed the same direction, though nothing compared to what we were seeing on Google maps for the Interstate coming up from Denver to Wyoming. We had a couple of spots we were considering going to watch from, but we were concerned about cloud cover obscuring the sun.

We were watching our location in relationship to the path of totality so we knew, if we had to, we could just stop on the side of the road to watch the eclipse. We were heading toward Agate, Nebraska and passed by a scenic overlook that didn’t have a huge crowd. The sky ahead of us was beginning to look very cloudy and we were trying to decide if we should keep going or head back to the overlook. After about 15 minutes we decided to turn around and go to the overlook.

It was a great decision. There were around 25-30 other groups there, probably 50 people total. People from Minnesota, Iowa and New York (Long Island) as well as closer by.  Everyone had eclipse glasses and was ready to watch the sun as the partial eclipse began.

My youngest had science class homework for taking notes on about the eclipse. He had black stickers to overlap yellow sun stickers on the paper, he had to note the time and the percentage of coverage. So we decided on the times he would make his observations then set a series of alarms on my smart phone so he didn’t have to be constantly looking at his watch and missing the eclipse.

It was a great family experience as well as a science experience. The kids got a little impatient waiting for the totality to happen, but we treated it as a great learning opportunity for them.  Fact: Sometimes the waiting in scientific observation is boring.

Once the totality got closer everyone got really excited. The wind picked up and, being at one of the highest points in the area, we could see the dimness of the totality coming toward us. Those of us watching the sun as the totality happened suddenly couldn’t see anything thru the eclipse glasses.

When we took the glasses off we saw the beautiful ring of the solar corona. It was stupendous! The kids declared all the waiting had been completely worth it. My youngest pronounced this the best trip of the summer. Both kids are more determined than ever that they want to be scientists when they grow up.

Then we drove to Scotts Bluff to have a picnic lunch and stop by Brown Sheep Wool Company. We weren’t the only eclipse hunters that had decided to stop by Brown Sheep. They were really busy, but I managed to find some yarn and fiber to adopt. Quite a bit of that yarn will be presents for Christmas, including slippers for all my family. I had them pick out the yarn and color they wanted because they are getting a bit picky about what they will wear anymore. Believe it or not the hot pink yarn in the center isn’t for me, my oldest picked it out for slippers.

I also got to introduce my family to 3 members of the Brown Sheep Family; Brittany, Andy and Peggy.

After yarn shopping we drove to the Visitors Center at Scotts Bluff National Monument. Again we were in company with a lot of other folks, but we decided to go ahead and wait in the line to drive to the top of the bluff. We were really glad we did since the views from there were beautiful.

We managed to miss the worse of eclipse traffic returning to Colorado and Denver in particular. With all our stops in Nebraska we thought we would miss it entirely, instead we ended up taking some back roads and avoiding the interstate. We stopped for dinner and ice cream in Ft. Collins and got home at 10:21 p.m. We had 2 very tired kids the next day, especially by the end of their school day, for once I didn’t get any arguments about going to bed.

I spent a lot of our trip crocheting on the anniversary shawl design that I am creating for the Longmont Yarn Shoppe, it’s always good to have a crochet project for the road. The launch date for the shawl is September 2nd. You can see a little sneak peak video on their facebook page. I’ve been working lots of math and writing the pattern as well as crocheting the sample since our return.

I’ll have more to share with you soon about that shawl and some other designs for this Autumn. This weekend I’ll be selling some of my wire wrapped pins and other crafts at our local craft fair. It’s the first one we’ve had since the flood of 2013. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of local friends and spending time in our little park once again.

Summer is Flying By

This summer is going so fast, I’ve been traveling for both work and family stuff, so the times at home are super packed with household and work tasks.

We got back from our Lake Huron trip the evening of the 11th and I hit the ground running the next day.

It was Casual Crochet meet-up and the end of our Testing Pool CAL. Everyone that could make it was there to get their photo taken wearing their cowls. A number of these ambitious crocheters had made 2 cowls. Can you tell that the Aqua colorway was very popular?

For naming this cowl I took all the names of my testers and put them in a hat. We drew out a name and this cowl is now known as the “Kellie Cowl”. That’s Kellie at the lower left in the photo.

You can purchase the pattern for this cowl in my Ravelry shop. It comes with detailed stitch charts for the foundation, joins and increase point.

I’m headed out to Chicago for the CGOA Chain Link Conference this week, so this may be a one post week again. We will see how busy it all is there and if I will have a decent internet connection. If you are coming to the conference be sure to say hello. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of my yarnie friends and making new ones.

Happy 4th of July!!!

Wow! Here we are again another July 4th celebration. For me this holiday has always been about family and fireworks.

This year is a big family reunion for my husband’s family on the Michigan shore of Lake Huron. We have lucked out on the weather and it is much cooler than they are accustomed to this time of year. Being mountain dwelling folks from Colorado we are loving the cooler temperatures.

His cousin arranged for the group to rent a lovely Victorian house right on the water and 2 campsites at the nearby State Park. We have all been riding bikes and hiking back and forth. Yesterday I spent some quality time with my kiddos playing in the water at the park beach

and collecting beautiful sand smoothed stones.

This pile of pebbles are very small and I am planning on doing some wire wrapping on them to turn them into jewelry.

The house has a lovely dining room area that has 3 walls that are full of big glass windows with screened sections. It’s become my place to sit and do some crafting work each day. I try to stay completely out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., fortunately the view from this room are lovely, so I don’t feel left out.

I’ve been working on this needle felted sculpture piece. Pretty awesome to sit here with birds singing, the sound of surf and a cool breeze. I’ve also packed along wire wrapping supplies, some beads, 4 crochet projects, 1 knitting project and my new Chameleon Art marker set. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to write a review on those while we are enjoying the time here.

Now I’m going to go do some more needle-felting and head to the beach for some toes in the sand time.

TNNA Goodies

I’m back from my little break and I have so much news for you. It’s likely going to take a few blog posts.

This summer has been moving fast and it seems every weekend has been full of excitement. First June weekend was sheep adventures, second was TNNA, and the third was playing with my dear niece and her adorable family.

I’ve shared quite a bit about the sheep adventures, though there will be more to tell on that front. For the moment though let’s roll the clock back to the second weekend and talk about the TNNA Summer Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio. For those of you that are new to my blog, or have never heard of TNNA, it is The National Needlearts Association and is a trade organization for folks that sell all sorts of fiber, yarn, needle crafting tools and supplies. It also includes needlearts teachers, designers and bloggers. You can learn more about TNNA at their website.

I had a little shorter visit at TNNA this time than I usually do, but it was still super productive. I flew out of Denver late Saturday morning. Had one of the most relaxing and enjoyable flights ever because of my seat mates. The woman at the window was traveling with her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and he cuddled with me for most of the flight. Might not have been ideal for folks that don’t love dogs or critters, but it was perfect for me. The woman on the aisle was also a dog lover, so we had a great time.

Saturday evening was the Business & Creative Services dinner. Lots of interesting conversations with colleagues and show vendors. There was a great goodie bag. I made sure to go to each of the vendors during the rest of the show to thank them for their sponsorship.

Sunday morning I had an inspiring class with Zontee Hou called “Become a Video Whiz”. Just Wow! I feel like my brain was so full after that class that I needed to sit somewhere quietly for a couple of hours and think. Unfortunately that wasn’t an option that day, fortunately Zontee always provides detailed slides and hand-outs that let me re-live the class now I am home.

I needed to spend my Sunday after the class on the showroom floor to meet with a number of yarn companies and to talk tools with some of the other companies (like the lively folks at Clover).

It’s always exciting to see what products Clover has, both the old and new. I’ve got a few to experiment with over the next couple of months, so be sure to check back for those reviews.

It was also a blast to see my friend Eloise. She and I have known each other for ages, long before she began working with Clover. We had a good chuckle when she started working with them and I told her they were one of my very favorite crafting tool companies. We were laughing at this show because she lives in Denver, yet the last 2 times we have seen each other have been at shows that we had to fly to. Life just gets too busy and crazy at times.

I also found some other booths I needed to check out. Like the “Knitting Abacus”, “Glowving” from Kreinik and “Brittany Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks”.

It’s not a real TNNA show without a stop by Daven’s “Love & Leche” booth for beautifully scented lotion bars for keeping my hands from drying out up here on the mountain.

One of the most wonderful things about being at TNNA is the yarn. A rainbow of colors and so many beautiful soft fibers. I can get very lost seeing all the yarn. That joke about being overwhelmed by yarn fumes? It could really happen at TNNA. There are so many new yarns to see.

The pile of yarn above is what I came home with, there will also be some more coming to my house soon. I’ve been sketching and making design notes on each of these in preparation for creating gorgeous new crochet designs. Some of these yarns are brand new to me, so I will also be posting reviews of those yarns as I get to work with them.

Sunday evening I got together with a bunch of my designer friends and we went out to dinner at Bare Burger. I loved this restaurant. Local sourced and organic food, cooks and wait staff that actually know what Gluten Free really means plus fun, quirky décor like the awesome decoupaged bear heads hanging all over the restaurant walls.

One stop that was at the top of my list for TNNA was the Unicorn Wash booth. I met Melanie, the owner, at my first TNNA show. You might recall I mentioned her when talking about my marvelous book about sheep? It was her drawing that I won it from. I wanted to make sure to check in with her and discuss her products because I have another big piece of news. I am now a part owner with my neighbor Margie of a sheep flock.

I bet most of you aren’t that surprised, after all the sheep adventures of the last couple of years. It’s been my dream for a long time and Margie gave me the push I needed to do it. Life is going to be even more interesting and busy now, but I figure it will off-set the gap that is opening in my life as my sons are becoming ever more independent. I know one thing after only one week of working with the sheep regularly, I’m going to be getting in great shape.

Hang onto your hooks and needles my dear readers, it’s going to be a wild time on the mountain.