Sunday, August 28, 2011

Knit and Crochet Show 2011

I had a wonderful time at the Knit and Crochet Show in Minneapolis last month. The Professional Development Day was the highlight of it all for me, and not just because I won some awesome stuff in the raffle. The presentations, both plenary style by Vickie Howell and Ellen Gormley, and the small group presentations by nine accomplished instructors and designers, were very informative and interesting. Lion Brand sponsored the day (thanks, Lion Brand!) which included giving everyone some free yarn and hooks with which to make some chemo hats for the charity, Knots of Love. Here's my improvised design:


I was not able to attend the CGOA event at the Textile Museum inducting posthumously the fabulous Jean Leinhauser into the Crochet Hall of Fame, but I can share with you the video that was shown that night:

Such an amazing woman who will be missed by so many people.

My sister-in-law and I went to the shopping preview on Thursday night and had a blast. One of my favorite purchases was a handmade sheep pin by Ogle Designs. My SIL and I each got one in different colors.


I had so many people complimented me on the pin and asked me where I got it. I hope I steered more business to their booth and now I hope I've steered you to see their website.

I picked up some Addi needles to make the purple scarf and I got a signed copy of Ellen Gormley's new book, Afghan Design Workshop. I also picked up some awesome New Zealand yarn called Kia Ora Kiwi Laceweight by Zealana. It is 40% fine New Zealand Merino, 30% Organic Cotton and 30% New Zealand Possum fibre.

New Zealand possums are a bit different from North American possums. They were first introduced to New Zealand as a viable fur trade but they have since become a threat to other wildlife as they have no natural predators to keep numbers under control. The government has to do some drastic things (as in killing loads of them) to protect other species of animals, mainly birds.

This yarn by Zealana is available for purchase from The Yarn Sisters. But you're not just buying some awesome yarn, you're also helping a conservation movement. Learn more about how this yarn is helping - "Save a Kiwi - Knit with Possum!"

I picked up three skeins in three lovely colors and I'm hoping to make a pair of gloves from them. This yarn is so incredibly soft.


My SIL and I stopped at another booth, this one completely for charity. Called the Mother Bear Project, the charity is "dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear." I picked up a crochet kit and I hope to make at least one bear before the end of the year.


The CGOA dinner on Saturday was also great - and there was more free yarn (and there was wine)!


Between shopping, free gifts and raffle wins, I had quite a haul of goodies when I returned home.


I don't have plans at this point to attend the conferences next year, but that could change. If you're been thinking about attending this fall or next year, DO IT! You'll have so much fun!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Midwest Meanderings

It is amazing how time has been flying all summer. First, I couldn't believe the Knit and Crochet show was a month away - then it was suddenly time to pack and go - and now it's three weeks later. Has your summer been like this, too, or am I just stuck in some kind of time warp?

Anyways - long story short, it was a great trip. While the 2011 Knit and Crochet Show in Minneapolis was the initial reason for a trip to Minnesota, it was also a great chance to see family in the area. That area included a 5+ hour radius from Minneapolis, too. Neither my DH nor I had ever visited this part of the country (beyond a layover at an airport) so the trip also let us add other states to our list of places we've been together.

Our trip from Minneapolis started with the 5 hour road trip to Wisconsin. It started out as a nice morning, but the rain came...

Sheets of rain, big drops pummeling the car, scary driving rain...but light in the distance made us hopeful for better roads ahead.


A few days in Wisconsin with family included two other states - Iowa and Illinois. Iowa was more of a drive-thru trip just to say we'd been in Iowa. The stop in Illinois was more of a destination. We visited the town of Galena which was historically known for being a major port of call for steamships. The town is full of history having hosted speeches by Lincoln and was the town where President Grant retired.

Inside of Grant's house with almost all the original furniture.

Downtown Galena

It is an artsy, fun little town with boutique-type stores along the main street. One of these stores was especially fun to visit - you guessed it - a yarn shop!

Fiber WILD! in Galena

What a wonderful little LYS this is! It has such a welcoming energy as you step through the door. The yarn selection is great as are the book, hook and needle selections. The owners are super nice and knowledgeable and the customers in the store (including yours truly) were having a wonderful time perusing the shelves for lovely fibers. While I normally try to find some local yarn when I travel, I wound up with two national brands.

I picked up some Flounce which, I found out later, is all the rage now. I had to have it once I saw the sample scarf being worked up in the store. The ruffles are so fun and the yarn is so soft. I chose purple as this will be my Ravens scarf now that football is back. The yarn is actually really easy to work with once you start. There are also videos online to help you figure out where to pick up the yarn edge. I'm knitting just 6 stitches on size 11 needles and it works up quickly. If it was my only project, I'm sure it could be finished in an afternoon. But I've got a few WIPs plus a book series I can't put down.


As always, details on Ravelry - but I will point this out, something that may be obvious to more experienced knitters but it took me a minute to figure out. The patterns and photos on Ravelry show a flatter scarf but I wanted the round, boa-type scarf. So - if you want a flat scarf with ruffles on only one side, knit stockinette stitch (knitting one side, purling the other). If you want the round, boa-type scarf with ruffles on both sides, knit garter stitch (knitting every side).

My other purchase was this Comfort yarn by Berroco. It caught my eye at the store as the colors are so nice and it is so soft. While I have oodles of baby yarn at home, I was with my sister-in-law who plans to have kids in the next few years. We thought it would be fun to buy the yarn for the hat and booties together so that when she does get the items, she'll remember when we bought it.


I should have bought my needles for the scarf there, too, but I thought I might get a better deal at the show. Lesson learned - but details about that and the rest of the trip in the next post.

From Wisconsin, we drove back to Minneapolis along the Mississippi river. It was a lovely trip along the water and was thankfully a rain-free drive.


While in Minneapolis, I didn't visit any local yarn shops as there was going to be plenty on the conference show floor. Plus, it was time to do some sightseeing!


I did find some crochet-related fun while on a tour of the Twins baseball park. Here's the front page of the Minneapolis newspaper the day the ball park was approved. Up in the right hand side - an article about crocheting!


Next post - actually about the show!