Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Berroco spring 07 yarns in stock!

This week started off with a lovely 16" dump of the white stuff. The totals were anywhere from 8-24+ inches of snow, depending on what town you live in. It was nice and cold and windy on Monday, but that's okay - we were inside getting all of those Tilli Tomas orders out the door.
We've received many new things this week, and hopefully they will all be out in the shop and online in the next few days. Several of Berroco's spring 07 yarns are here and they are lovely! We won't get the pattern booklets until January, but we're going to try to get some samples worked up before then.
One of my favorites arrived today - Galaxy, by Regia. Look how cool the yarn knits up!
Yesterday Helen and Sophie wanted to start a knitting project after school. They wanted to knit with the needles that have the "string in between" (circulars!) They wanted to pick their own yarns, and both chose some Koigu from my stash at home. Hmmm. Koigu, for 8 year old kids? No way. I want them to feel they're making progress with their knitting, and I knew Koigu was the wrong choice. So I steered them into the bulky room and they ended up picking Foliage. Better, because it's bulkier and it changes colors on its own. So I cast on 20 stitches for each of them and worked the first row. Then I reminded them of the rhyme we use to tell them what to do... and I left the room, thinking they would call me in when they got the end of the row (they've only used straight needles before.)
I came back 15 minutes later and they were on row 8 or 9. I was amazed that they figured out how to work with circular needles all on their own! A lot of people don't understand that you can work a flat piece on a circular needle, you just turn the work at the end of the row. Both of them figured it out all by themselves, and when I came into the room and asked them how they knew what to do at the end of the row, they gave me that "Duh, Mom!" look, and told me that it was SO easy. Wow, that's something that a lot of our customers don't understand. So I'm definitely proud of them - it must be in their blood!
Michele brought in another plate of her famous cookies... with an appropriate winter theme. We enjoyed them, and are eager for Valentine's Day, which is when we will most likely get another plate!
We have been busting some serious you know what here, getting our packages out the door. It is always amazing to me how people wait until the last minute, and then think that it will only take us 2 seconds to pick, pack, charge and ship their order. But really, I have to say, we are quick. Just 30 minutes ago, I saw two orders come in - both were expedited... so I clicked on them to download them, and just as I got up to get them off the printer, I heard Barb coming upstairs. In her hands was the Offhand Designs Zelda Weekender that had just been ordered for overnight shipment. She had seen the orders come in too, and we were both jumping to attention to get the stuff out the door. Within 5 minutes, the orders were charged and shipped and now those 2 people will be loving it when their packages arrive in time for Christmas. See all those Red, Blue and Orange stickers!?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Big Birthday... Blizzard?

So we are supposedly getting a big storm this weekend, thought we're not sure exactly how much snow we will get. Hopefully it will hit on Sunday and be cleared up by Monday, as it could certainly interfere with our shipping of orders for the holidays! When it gets this close to Christmas, you don't want to lose a day in transit... but with some weather conditions, UPS just can't get through. That's what happened last night - a huge Tilli Tomas order was supposed to arrive here today, but it didn't get here. The folks at Tilli Tomas were affected by the weather - their 15 minute drive in to work took 5 hours, due to awful road conditions, and then they got a call from UPS at the end of their day, saying the truck wasn't going to be able to pick up their outgoing shipments. Oh well! That's life and there's no sense getting upset about these things. They are completely unavoidable, so we move on, and we'll get the yarn on Monday. That is, if we aren't affected up this way!

Things have really picked up, as all of our online customers are frantically placing orders. We've been working like crazy to be sure we can ship everything as quickly as possible. And the shop has been VERY busy over the past few days. The door is opening and closing constantly. People are in shopping for small projects, big projects, gifts and more. Lots of folks are coming in for last minute finishing help. They're frantic and almost at the end of their projects, and we've been able to help them through their trouble spots.

I have a big birthday tomorrow. The big 4-0. I am conveniently NOT working on my birthday. Marc has some special plans for me, which involve some time at Topnotch in Stowe... and the spa... so that should be FUN! I'm certainly getting grief from people for being so OLD on this birthday - ha ha! Funny thing is, I actually feel much better at 40 than I did at 30. That's what I'm hearing from a lot of people these days. I guess that's why they call it 40 and fabulous!

For those of you who are rug hookers and haven't forked yet for a Puritan Frame, here's another reason why you should get one. NOT ONLY are they wonderful in that they hold your pattern tight when you are hooking, but they double as a cat grooming machine! I always wondered why I had fine white "hairs" on one corner of my frame. Then last night I caught Lucy in the act.

I guess we're not brushing her enough - she's forced to do it herself!
And I'm making some progress! It's going to be great...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

101 steps to drawing up a pattern

So I decided to draw up my next rug pattern this past Sunday. Michele had already surged a piece of linen for me (I'm not that great with a sewing machine, and the surger... well it scares me.) Helen had already drawn her picture, and I had enlarged it on our copier at work. Then I took a Paper Mate Flair (my favorite pen!) and drew over the lines so they'd be darker.I cut around each figure so I could move them closer together, and I got out my handy dandy painter's tape and put some on the back of each cutout.I taped the figures up on my sliding glass door. (Nice snowy backgound!)

Then I figured out how big I wanted my pattern to be, and I drew the border with a Sharpie. It's easy to draw straight lines - just keep the pen in the same groove as you drag it across the linen.

Then I started tracing the drawings onto the linen. Sure, a light table would have worked better. But you have to make do with what you have, and I had a sliding door and a gray Vermont morning. It worked just fine.

Completed figures.

Since Helen had drawn the figures, I wanted Sophie to give me input on the background. She practiced her cursive and wrote the "Welcome" for the bottom. First in pencil, then traced over it with the Sharpie.

Note the pajamas. There's nothing better than a lazy weekend morning when you can stay in your pajamas as long as you want. So I added her landscape ideas and Welcome word...

And there you have it. Done!

I've already started hooking it. I'm using #3, #5 and #6 cuts. The detail just might kill me... it's not going to be as fast as I'd like to go. But I think the end result will be just perfect.