Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are you rested and ready for summer?

I hope you all had a nice long weekend! I enjoyed - and needed! - the three days off, and I guess summer is here, though our weather this week doesn't seem to agree.
I started my weekend with a surprise visitor on Saturday morning! I looked out the window and had a little friend staring in at me. We often have deer in our backyard, but this one was about 6 feet off the front of the house. We had a bit of a staredown through the window, until the deer got bored or hungry and wandered back into the woods.
I didn't work at the shop on Saturday, but I did come in with the girls and Marc to see the Essex Junction Memorial Day Parade. It's always a long one (pushing two hours!) and with the road closed for several hours, the shop is never too busy on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend! Once Emily and Shawn finished restocking and pulling orders, they came out on the front step to enjoy the parade. They seamed some charity afghan squares while they watched. I was in the shop waiting for the parade to start and just as it started, Helen came in to get me so I wouldn't miss the "disabled veterinarians" who were coming up the street. (We were a ways away from the announcers, so she didn't hear it properly!) It's always fun to see the unexpected in parades, like old cars that seem to have lost their get up and go. Luckily people watching jumped up and started pushing this one, so this guy made it up the hill with a bit of help.
One of my favorite groups was the bagpipers. What a beautiful sound they made!
And of course the Green Mountain Derby Dames were a highlight this year. They are Vermont's first and only all-female flat track roller derby league. They've been popping up all over recently - getting the word out about their team. Cool!Sunday was the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, and while we didn't enter as a shop this year for the relay team, I did agree to run a leg on my friend's team several months ago. Then, I was so busy with the launch of the new website, that I didn't get to train as much as I should have. I only had to run 5.6 miles, but when you haven't been running at all, 5.6 miles can seem daunting - and it did! I was extremely nervous all weekend, but I managed to surprise myself and came in well ahead of my ETA. It was really fun, and I felt that nice kind of "sore" afterwards (and still today!) but it did POUR the entire time I was running, and I definitely could have done without that.

Marc and the girls were going to watch me finish my leg, but didn't make it in time. Between me finishing faster than expected, and Marc trying to find parking in the North End, they were still 6 blocks away when I finished and called them. I was glad that Marc thought to bring an old Gortex parka with him, because by that time I was drenched and freezing!
I started a new swatch last night! Yarn is Pure Pima and it's a stitch pattern from one of the Barbara Walker books. Oh how I love this cable pattern! I stayed up way too late last night knitting it, because it was so much fun. I'm going to have to design something around it now...
Time for a new website feature: let's talk about patterns! Our free pattern section will be expanding this summer, but the biggest thing to notice is that all free patterns have now been formatted so they look a heck of a lot nicer on the page! And if you'd like to print out a free pattern, just click the Printer Friendly icon and a Word file will open up for you to print.
Customers have been asking for months, "Can we buy PDF patterns?" and we're happy to announce that starting now, we do have some PDF patterns available for purchase. For those of you who don't know, PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It's a file format that captures all the elements of a printed document in an electronic image. When you purchase a PDF pattern on our website, once you submit your order, you will be able to download the pattern almost immediately. People like PDFs because they are fast, paperless, and usually less expensive than paper patterns. All copyright laws do apply to PDF patterns, so please bear that in mind!
At this moment, we have our own patterns and two Dream in Color patterns available as PDFs. BUT we are expanding the offering, so stay tuned! Not many of our vendors sell their patterns in PDF format, so we are identifying those who do. And we're hoping that the vendors who do not offer this format will reconsider, as it's a green thing to do!

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