September 22, 2006

I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS

I want to thank all those knitters up and down the West Coast who helped me to assemble a trunk show for my presentation at Guild. Packages started arriving from California, from Oregon, and I came away with an armload of stuff from my local Feral Knitters this past Monday.

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Starting with the hedgehog and moving clockwise --

a Huggable Hedgehog, knitted by Wendi Lewis (Seattle) who's a current Feralite and who formerly served as SKG president while I was newsletter editor;

Celtic Pillows, designed and knitted by Janine Bajus, who's the Ferals's founding den mother (the pillow tops made it up from California with Janine in her most recent jaunt in this new period of her life where she's dividing her time between the Bay Area and Seattle);

pink Meilenweit cotton socks, and self-striping Meilenweit turquoise/chartreuse cotton sock, knitted by my friend Jewel Miller (California);

black beaded wristwarmers, designed by Susanna Hansson (Seattle), and knitted for me as a gift from her;

a stack of sweaters, bottom to top:

a Jamieson's Shetland Heather Aran sweater knitted by Anne Berk (Oregon);

a Sandness sweater knitted by Feralite June Dickinson (Camano Island, Washington);

an Elfin sweater knitted by Anne Berk from Kidsilk Haze;

a Northwest Sunset vest knitted by Anne Berk from Jamieson's Spindrift;

topping off the pile o' sweaters is June Dickinson's Floral Fair Isle gloves in Spindrift;

and, reclining on the couch, is Anne Berk's Panel Party pullover, a Sally Melville design knitted in Jamieson's Double Knitting.

When I was preparing my presentation, I knew that I would have only a couple of finished things of my own that I could show as examples of the kinds of projects that you can knit with the kinds of materials you can buy at Two Swans Yarns. When I asked friends if I could borrow some of their finished objects, they very graciously agreed, and very generously shipped things to me or hand-delivered things to me. I think everyone who attended Guild that night will say that this trunk show was one of the highlights.

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What I was most thrilled about that evening was picking up the patterns for the "I'm a Little Teapot" Fair Isle Tea Cozy! Yes, the printer (who, in his other life, is my brother) met what ended up being a very tight deadline. He did a beautiful job of printing the patterns on some gorgeous, heavy cover stock, scoring and folding them -- these just could not look more professional! I picked up the patterns from his print shop in Edmonds, and driving all the way to Seattle that evening, I had one hand on the steering wheel and in the other hand -- one of these patterns. I could hardly keep my eyes on the road, I was so entranced by the finished product. Fortunately, I took some back roads, and traffic was light.

So, the Two Swans Yarns line of knitting patterns got launched, on the occasion of my presentation. I'm really tickled that I met that goal.

June Dickinson, designer of the tea cozy, seemed tickled, too. It was a very sweet scene: People were purchasing patterns, then handing them to June for her autograph.

One question that I was asked, at the end of my presentation, was, Where do I advertise Two Swans, and how did I choose them? Speaking off the top of my head, I said that I advertise in Interweave Knits and in the Tigard Knitting Guild newsletter. In my best judgment, Interweave Knits publishes patterns that most closely fit the "traditional knitting" theme of Two Swans, of any of the knitting magazines out there, and I think the magazine's demographic most closely aligns with my shop's. I believe in supporting guilds (and isn't that obvious, after all the volunteering I've done for SKG?), and the Tigard Guild is a nearby guild that accepts advertising in its newsletter.

What I failed to remember, answering that unexpected question, are two other places where I advertise: Janet Szabo's Twists and Turns newsletter for Aran knitting, and Bonnie Franz's Stranded newsletter for color stranded knitting. These newsletters are intended for knitters who are keeping the traditions alive, and I definitely want to support these publications. If you haven't seen these newsletters already, I hope you'll check 'em out. I know that publishing these newsletters is very much a labor of love for each of those women -- and now that I've gotten the tea cozy pattern back from the printer, it's especially fresh in my memory how very labor-intensive it is to put together a publication like this.

* * *

Here on the knitting front at home, inspired by all of the hedgehog photos I've been sent recently (from Sheri, from Kate, and others), my eldest daughter Jennie wanted to make one, too. Here's a shot of hers after she's knitted the belly and paws, and is a few rows into knitting the back:

JenniesHedgieinProgress.jpg

I want to echo something that Kate wrote in the comments: While the hedgie is a well-thought-out, easy-to-follow pattern, it is probably not well-suited to beginning knitters. It takes a lot of short rows, of the wrap-and-turn variety -- although, so far, you don't need to pick up the wraps or any such thing. The eyelashes in the yarn can obscure the stitches of the wool that you're knitting, making those stitches difficult to count (you're knitting with a strand of a 10-ply wool and a novelty yarn simultaneously). On this project, Jennie has learned not only short row wrap-and-turn, but also how to increase by knitting into the front and back of a stitch. While it is proving to not be a one-day project for her, she's having a lot of fun knitting her little hedgie. And she gets by with a little help from mom - tinking and teaching.

Posted by Karen at September 22, 2006 02:55 PM
Comments

That was a great SKG program ~ thanks for the insight into your business and your knitting life. We (Peggy and I) bought the tea cozy pattern, SO adorable! And I'll be ordering Guernsey wool as soon as I can decide which color. It's great to have a source so close by.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 22, 2006 05:54 PM

Wow. I've never been quoted before. I think the hedgies would be a great project for learning short rows and increasing and decreasing. The felting blends all your imperfections away and the product is ridiculously cute.

I am blown away by the quality of the knitting in your post. I love your store and your support of the finer yarns and traditional knitting. I'm working on a cardigan from "A Gathering of Lace" and getting started on Level 2 of the master knitting program. (well in theory, in practice I'm still reading over the insturctions and working up the nerve)

best of luck in all of your endevors.

Kate

Posted by: Kate at September 23, 2006 10:31 PM

i don't need a tea cosy at all, but i want that one ;-)

Posted by: vanessa at September 27, 2006 04:04 AM