Hello there to all my blog readers...it's about time I did a quick update of what's been going on around here...and mostly it's about shows! Since my last couple of posts, I've ventured out to two shows here in Ontario and thought I'd share a few photos. This year's Knitter's Fair was very well attended and with Cathy of ZigZagStitches, we decided to stretch out into a triple booth from our double last year. It worked really well too - not only was there lots of room for movement but we also managed to squeeze Anna in from KnitandKnag to show off her book! Next year will be even larger as I squeeze into a triple booth on my own - you must come see what I have in store...one section will be something fun and also very hands on - more to come on that later!
Anne Hanson of Knitspot was also in town and dropped by to say hello...and surprised me with a quick little air kiss which as you can see had me laughing so hard...what a funny moment that was!
Anne just happened to be in town for a week giving classes at Shall We Knit so a few of us from my local SnB packed up and ventured out to take one of her lace classes - lots to be learned and a great evening!
About a month after Knitter's Fair was the Woodstock Fleece Festival which we were attending for our second year. Each year this show gets busier and busier and we had a lovely day there as well talking to knitters and watching everyone enjoy all the fibre there was to be had!
What's up next for me? More shows of course! TNNA's Winter Show is in January in Arizona then we venture to Stitches West in California in February. Each show is a very long trip for us but we're really looking forward to it - Mr. Zen is really taking well to the yarns it seems!
Hope you're all doing well and if you're in the area of any of my shows, do drop by and say hello - the fun part of the shows is vending but it's also getting to put faces to names too!
And in the meantime, I also had my logos updated and am very pleased with them...in the next while you will see them roll out in my yarn labels and anywhere else I "inhabit" online.
The little bonsai tree has yarn in its branches...pretty cute, eh?
If you haven't heard of Fickle Knitter Designs, you're in for a real treat with the release of Michelle's first pattern book! If you are already a fan of Michelle's I'm sure you'll enjoy her first book too! Michelle specializes in projects using one skein of yarn or less and her first book includes 8 knitting projects which range from cowls to shawls to flats and wristlets. It really is a must have for all of you looking for a set of projects to do with all your sock yarn you have in your stash!
I had the pleasure of first meeting Michelle at TNNA this year and shortly after she released her first book entitled Leaves - Fickle Knitter Design Volume 1. Michelle, like Anna, also holds various science degrees including her Masters Degree in Physics which also translates into her ability to write up a clear and concise pattern that's easy to follow. Michelle has other books on the horizon as well - you really should keep track of her designing if you aren't already!
Included in her book is a gorgeous shawl she named Golden Leaf and made from Zen Yarn Garden's Serenity Silk yarn. It was a real pleasure to be included in her book and I hope you will all buy the book to knit not only the shawl in Zen Yarn Garden yarn but all the other projects she has for you - they are all adorable!
Michelle has graciously offered two prizes for our blog writing today! These will include one of each:
E-Book Copy of Leaves Hard Copy of Leaves
All you have to do is leave a comment with your Rav ID to this blog post telling us what types of projects you like to knit with one skein of sock yarn. One entry per person please and we'll make the drawing for the winner next weekend. Deadline to submit your comment is Midnight EST, Friday, September 30, 2011. Good luck!
Contest is now closed! Winners are comment #96: Quilter1446 & comment #62: Knittinggirl13 - congrats to both of you!
If I had to sum up Shaping Shawls, a lovely new shawl pattern book, in one word, it'd have to be breath-taking! Anna Dalvi, the book's writer and designer, manages to capture not only gorgeous lace designs expressed in several different shawl shapes but also delves into the technical knitting aspects of each one in thorough detail. She has managed to not only give knitters beautiful designs but has also managed to explain them all in great detail. Gorgeous lace design paired with material geared to enhance your knitting skills...there's not much more to ask for in a book!
I had the pleasure of first meeting Anna in person at TNNA in June of this year in Columbus, Ohio. We only spoke briefly over the 3 days of the market but with our first meeting, I could sense that Anna really had a lovely grasp of the technical side of lace knitting. It wasn't until the Knitters' Fair that I got a chance to talk more with Anna about her designing and it all came together as she showcased and signed her book in my booth:
Anna Dalvi - Shaping Shawls Book Showcasing/Signing Knitters' Fair - Sept 10/2011 Kitchener, Ontario
Anna is an Engineer by education and also holds an MBA. Finally, the pieces of the puzzle were coming together because as a few of you know, Mr. Zen is also an Engineer by education. Engineers have a way of conceptualizing design and implementing them with fine details. Anna is no exception when it comes to lace designing and her Shaping Shawls book definitely captures her ability to put her conceptions into her designs.
So with that in mind, I had a chance to ask Anna a few questions about her book and I hope you enjoy these as much as I did:
Roxanne: Where did you grow up and did you go to school for any degrees? If so, what degrees did you receive and do your degrees help with your designing process?
Anna: I grew up just outside Gothenburg, Sweden. In 1990 I moved to the US and went to school at Cornell University. I have a B.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Electrical Engineering. While I was in school, I worked in a robotics lab developing localization algorithms for the robots (basically helping the robot figure out where it was and how to navigate in an unknown environment). I also worked on a Hybrid Electric Vehicle - an HEV built from scratch by a team of 40 students or so. Our HEV then competed in a race in California against a number of other schools. After I moved to Canada, I went back to school for an MBA (from Queen's University), which has been very useful in terms of running your own business. I've been self-employed since 2003, and that MBA has definitely been useful.
Roxanne: What was the inspiration that led to your taking the leap to becoming a designer?
Anna: I have always liked to experiment with my knitting and make up new things. As for writing the patterns down and publishing them, I really just looked around at a number of the knitting patterns that were out there and thought "I could do this". I submitted a design just on impulse to (now defunct) MagKnits, and when it was accepted I wrote it all down. That was the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan. And after that, I decided to host a lace mystery KAL, just for fun, and that was Mystic Waters. After that, it just sort of continued, and here I am.
Roxanne: Are there any particular fibres you like for shawls?
Anna: I'll have to say that it depends on what I'm making. I mean, I always love a good merino, as well as a number of merino blends (MCN, merino/silk, etc). I also really like the yarns with a slight halo, like the baby alpaca blends, or even angora blends, as long as the yarn is not so furry that the lace pattern is obscured. And then silk and tencel result in a completely different texture and drape. All are nice, it really depends on what I'm aiming for.
Roxanne: How do you incorporate colour into your creation of a design? Does the colour ultimately inspire you to design something or make you design in a certain manner?
Anna: I often do start with a particular yarn and a particular colour and associate freely from the colour to pick the theme of a design. That said, I do love when knitters substitute yarn colours in the design, because it really impacts the finished look of the shawl.
Roxanne: Do you enjoy designing other things along with shawls? If so, what else do you like to design?
Anna: Yes. I like all sorts of things actually. In the past year, I've been on a bit of a fingerless mittens spree, just because they are nice, small projects that can be used to explore a variety of techniques and textures. I love lace and cables, colours and textures, and anything that allows me to play with those is fun. And that would be all knitting.
Roxanne: And lastly, do you have any other books coming over the horizon?
Anna: I have a couple of designs coming in the Fresh Design Series published by Cooperative Press, in both Shawls and Mittens. And I'm also working on another book focused on lace and colour, which will be published during the summer of 2012.
If you haven't already, make sure to support Anna and her designs and drop by and purchase her new Shaping Shawls book - you will not be disappointed! If you'd like to read other reviews of Anna's book, make sure to drop by her blog as she's hosting a blog tour for her book.
CONTEST:Win a free e-book copy of Shaping Shawls by leaving one comment per person to this post with your Ravelry ID name and also a short comment telling us what shawl shape you prefer knitting. If you haven't knit shawls yet, tell us what your favourite thing is to knit. I will have a random drawing for the winner on Saturday, September 24th so the deadline to submit a comment is midnight EST, Friday, September 23rd. Good luck!
WINNER: Our winner, chosen by the Random Number Generator, is RubyFox - congrats!
Lots on the go over here and barely any time to blog it seems. I always have good intentions to get over here and write something but with the updating of Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry and Google+, my blog is falling down on the priority list. I really shouldn't be neglecting it as I can write more here than I can anywhere else. Oh, the joys of juggling time.
So, if I saw you at Stitches Midwest last month, it was a pleasure! This was our first time venturing out to the show and it was oodles of fun. Absolutely exhausting too but 3 days of talking yarn and knitting with everyone was a hoot!
And to my delight, Mr. Zen's cousin Lisa agreed to come and help us this year. I must say, having someone else in the booth helping was really amazing. I am so used to relying on myself for everything as the business owner but after spending a weekend with Lisa, well, I think I might just be able to change my mind on that a little. Seems the more hands there are, the easier things become...who knew? I suspect it's a sign of getting older too - my energy reserves just aren't what they used to be...LOL
And I must give a really big shoutout to Lisa - she was absolutely fantastic to work with. She's a natural saleswoman too and the cutest personality you'll ever meet and the added bonus? Lisa is also a knitter and has that insane lust for luxury yarns like the rest of us. We are already plotting for next year's show!
Right after returning I managed to finalize my new shawl pattern too. This one started out as a bit of an experiment to see what the half-circle shape would be like then a quicker bind off than I had planned because I just had to see what it would turn out like. It's a lovely shawlette size and can very easily be upsized with more increases of the border.. I love this shape and have yet another design on the needles but with different lace motifs and I am definitely going to knit it a little longer now that my anxious "hurry up and see how it blocks" has been satiated with Raphaelite.
Save $1.50 for the month of September on my newly released pattern!
So how have you been? If you want to keep up with me in real time and not wait for a post every 3-4 weeks or so, I suggest you come on over and follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. I seem to update those accounts often.
Enjoy the rest of your long weekend everyone - knitting season is about to hit full swing as the weather cools! I like to think of this season not as Fall but rather "time to get out the wool" season!
I seem to have good intentions to get over here and write a blog post but wow, it's been over a month already! Where does the time go? In that timespan I've managed to write, edit and test a new shawl pattern that's quick and easy and would also be a fantastic stash buster. Knit on US10 needles with yarn held double, this one goes quickly with a sweet result.
In other news, I'm getting ready to attend Stitches Midwest. This will be our first year there and if you're visiting, drop by booth #533. And shortly after we return it'll be time for the Knitters' Fair in early September then Woodstock Fleece Festival in October. It's definitely show season!