Another Chain Link

Once again I have discovered I am absolutely horrible at remembering to take pictures when I am at Chain Link.

I am generally having way too much fun:  making new friends and re-uniting with old friends that the days go zipping past and I only realize how lax I’ve been with the camera once I’m back at the airport heading home.

I did manage to take a few pictures on the first day. 

The Pool at the Hotel

The pool room was my place to go warm-up as the air-conditioning was brutal, I didn’t actually swim…just stood out there for a bit to get the chill off. Next conference I shall bring some warmer crochet accessories…like a cardigan!

Sunday Shopping Bags

Since my chronicling of Chain Link was so shoddy, I’ll instead share with you photos of the results of my limited retail therapy time at the show.

Looking at the amount of loot I came home with, I’m thinking it is a good thing I had “limited” time for retail therapy.

The most expensive purchase of the week was my new set of Cabled Tunisian hooks from the Tulip Company being sold at the Buy Caron booth. I had to pick up a few more Etimo hooks, though by Sunday they were nearly all gone.

Then of course, there was YARN.  Yes, I know I have likely reached SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy), but I seem to always need more yarn. This gorgeous silky soft and sparkly alpaca yarn had to come home with me.  My friend Pam had purchased some and shown it to me, I went to the market on Sunday especially to find it.

Of course, whilst searching out the sparkly alpaca, some yummy hand-dyed loveliness at Miss Babs‘ booth begged me to take it home as well.  The colors at their booth were truly drool-worthy, and the staff was very helpful in picking out 2 skeins of close matches in the colorways I fell in love with. 

My conference roommate, Janet, didn’t help matters when she came back to our room one day with some lovely silk from Vijay Fibers. So I needed a few hanks of that too.

Since the first ever Knit and Crochet Show I attended and where I met her (Portland, September 2008), Janet has been a dangerous influence when it comes to my budget.  So it was my turn this conference.  Janet decided to try a new color for something for herself. I can hardly wait to see what she creates from this gorgeous yarn. She is a wizard with the hooks and makes lovely lace goodies.

I didn’t escape that booth (The Yarn and Fiber Company out of Derry, NH) without some purchases of my own though.  Couldn’t resist the T-shirt as it made me giggle and the little felting template looked like a great (safer) way to do some needle felting with my kiddos.

After feeling a bit under-dressed in the jewelry department at the banquet Friday evening I decided I needed some “bling” for future conferences. So I made a stop by the Cookie Lee booth for this lovely necklace.  The ring was just too fun as well, so it hopped into my hand to be purchased as well.  I shall glitter brilliantly at future events.

Sassafras Creations drew me in as well. Lots of beautiful jewelry and accessories that have all been made from old knitting needles and crochet hooks. I purchased a few goodies, though she was just about cleared out of her crochet hook items….she said she will know to bring more to the next Chain Link she attends.

Before all was done, I had to make a stop at Newtons Yarn Country, where the bargain priced yarns were getting loads of attention from many conference attendees. The choices were limited by Sunday but I managed to do some damage to the yarn budget.

Well, now I know why I was so tired Sunday evening.  And this isn’t even counting all the events I attended, the classes I took, and the volunteer duties I helped with. Wheeeee! Can hardly wait til next year.

My Corner

Just a picture of my corner of the living room where most of my work takes place. From here I can keep an eye on my boys as they play, or watch the TV.

My happiest new addition to my work corner is my new chair. It’s comfy and ergonomic. The perfect combo.  This corner is currently a WIP, will see how it all develops this summer.

Twas the Week before Christmas

7 days and Counting

I hear you all out there scrambling to finish gift projects.  You are crocheting (or knitting) like mad fiends in every spare moment you can find.  Meetings at work are viewed as an opportunity to get a few rows done.  And that long train/bus or subway commute isn’t too bad if you can find a stable spot to sit or stand and stitch.

You are staying up late. You’re stitching for hours on end.  And very likely you are ignoring those twinges and aches in your shoulders, neck, arms and hands.

I know I’m not going to persuade you that you should stop tormenting yourself.  Heck! I’m in a similar boat.  But I’m doing okay because I’m adding in a few ways of taking care of myself.

I like to listen to music or watch movies when I am working.  Sometimes my TV shows are on.  I make sure to set some sort of interval that I am going to stop for a moment and do something else.  Every time the commericials start or at the end of a certain song or scene. 

Yes, that is a sneaky way of saying I take a break.  Remember the rule with breaks is, you don’t have to go do yoga in the corner.  Get up and move! That’s it.

Go switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  Get a drink of water. Run to the loo.  Just move your body in a way that is different from crouching over your crafting.

Of course, I’m also reminding myself regularly not to “crouch” over my project. Keeping my shoulders and neck relaxed really gives me more energy and efficiency when stitching.  So between my “Get up and Move” breaks I take little mini-breaks.

Mini-breaks are just a quick moment to take a deep breath, relax my shoulders, maybe look up at the ceiling or gently twist my neck from side to side.  Anymore these are such a habit that I do them without thinking.  I can even keep stitching often times.

I know it seems counter-intuitive that taking time for a break of any sort will speed up the progress of your project, but it really works.  Those little breaks add to your overall energy level and improve your chances of working “smarter” instead of “harder”.

Also a reminder. If you are still looking for some quick gifts for some of the folks on your list my first pattern “Little Christmas Wreath” is very speedy.  You can make it as a brooch or a fun little ornament for the tree.  Even makes a great Fridge magnet.

Take a look over at my Happy Holidays post to get the coupon code for a complimentary copy.

Super Secret Projects

I know I’ve been a bit slow posting lately.  My recent blog posts could convince you that I never crochet anymore.  It isn’t true. 

Piles of Work

I’m actually working on 7 different crochet projects, but as is often the case for designers, I can’t tell anything about them. I am really looking forward to being able to share the stories of each of them and celebrate with my stitching friends once the designs are published. 

Also I still have lots of work to do for getting my Design Office and Art Studio spaces in order.  Hopefully then I’ll be working smarter instead of harder. Of course, everything was a bit side-lined with the wildfire excitement, but I’m back on task again. 

Thanks for popping in once and awhile.

Counting our Blessings

It feels like it has been weeks since I last blogged.  But in reality it has only been 7 days.  For those who don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I and my family have been having a rather intense week.  We live about 3-4 miles from the Four Mile Canyon Fire outside of Boulder, Colorado.    

Smoke Plume from our House


Our Labor Day started off as a Very Windy Day.  Generally we are quite sheltered here on our mountainside, but that morning our tree tops were whipping about like the trees themselves were ready to take flight.  By noon our power had gone out, not a big deal since it was a sunny day.  I sat in a comfy spot by the window and continued crocheting on my latest design.   

Once the sample was done I headed over to the design office to type up the pattern notes on my laptop (which fortunately was fully charged).  Later that afternoon, about the time the laptop battery was getting low, the power came back on.  I went back over to the house to check on my boys and see what my beloved wanted to do for dinner that night.   

Before I could say anything though, he told me there was a bad wildfire in Four Mile Canyon.  So my question was, “Do we need to pack up and head out?”    

That was the standing question for the following 4 days as weather and the preceding dry conditions gave our brave fire crews terrible conditions to  battle a wildfire.  At one point residents in the northwest neighborhoods of Boulder were preparing to evacuate.  The latest news reports say the fire is 56% contained and that fire crews are confident that they will have full containment by Monday morning.   

Many of the families that had to evacuate nearer the fire are being allowed back in to their homes.  Best of all no lives have been lost as residents were evacuated in a timely manner and the fire crews have been able to rotate shifts.   

We are safe and have not had to leave our homes and a lifetime of belongings behind.  The winds have worked in our favor and we are even smoke free the past couple of days.  Numerous friends and family have contacted us this week to inquire into our safety and to offer us haven at their homes if we needed to evacuate.  I and my family are heartened to know that we have such a wonderful support system in place.    

During all this waiting I’ve been thinking about the two sides of living in so remote an area.  We are surrounded everyday by beautiful landscapes, pristine air to breathe and not a lot of traffic noise, especially at night.  The flip side is we also get to deal with record-breaking snowfalls, our electric power goes out at least 2 times a year (occasionally for days on end), and wildfire is a constant worry when the dry seasons are on us.   

Despite the occasional inconveniences and the rare life-threatening incident we still wouldn’t change where we live.  The everyday joy is a fair trade-off. 

This excitement has put me a bit behind on some of my design work, but I’m back to work now.  I’ll definitely be scanning more of my work into my computer though, nothing like realizing it could have all been lost to motivate me to carry on with all my organizing and inventory projects.