Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Our Moment in the Rain

Yarn Market on Sunday morning in Indianapolis didn't open until 10:00. While we waited, we thought we'd walk around downtown for an hour. We were drawn to the Soldiers and Sailors momument:

....and as we were looking at it, a pleasant man stopped over to chat with us. He said that his name was John Strauss, and that he had a radio show [scroll waaaaay down to the bottom of the page to see his name in this link] where he interviewed people who were out and about. Were we willing to be interviewed?

Cynthia is usually not enthusiastic about such things, but Kim jumped at the chance. As we were talking, it started to rain, so we ran under a building underhang to do the interview. John started his taperecorder and began the interview. He said that he noticed that our badges said TNNA. "The Nashville Network! Are you singers?"

"Only at night," Kim quipped. "My day job is owning a yarn shop."

And on the interview went. Kim explained what we were doing, what TNNA was, and how we couldn't have come to Indianapolis without kissing the bricks. She told him how excited we were by all the yarns we saw.

Cynthia told him that her car was lost in the parking garage and that if it weren't for Kim, she would probably never find it.

The interview was over in a few minutes. To document this event, Cynthia took a photo of the rain-dampened Kim and the radio man:

And then he ran off to put our interview on the air. And we ourselves ran through the rain back to market. Alas, we never heard the show. But we're certain our interview was an Indianapolis media sensation!

Next: What's in store for fall!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Picking out Yarns

The racetrack in the morning was fun, but Friday evening at the yarn market was time for more serious work—starting to think about yarns that we would order for fall. Friday night starts with a fashion show, where the yarn manufacturers and designers show off their latest yarns and garments. This is a "don't miss" event for the show. We stood in line for over an hour and were able to snag front-row seats.

The fashion show is a big deal for the manufacturers--it's a great opportunity to show shop owners the latest trends and fashions for fall. We wish we could show you pictures of all the beautiful garments—but photography was not allowed. Don't worry. You’ll see many of the designs in upcoming knitting and crochet magazines this fall.

The next day, we went to the market. Cameras were most definitely not allowed in the market, but we can, however, show you a map of the market floor:

As you can see, it is huge. Each square in the diagram on the right is a 10-foot booth. On the left is the list of exhibitors. (Granted, many of those booths are for needlework, which our store does not do. We did not have to think about every single booth. Just half of them.) As we calculate it, the square footage of the area was just shy of 200,000 square feet. That's a lot of walking.

Many people say that they would not be able to pick yarns with all the choices that are out there. “How do you choose what to stock?” they ask us.

The answer is, it’s as difficult as you imagine. We are both fairly efficient decision-makers, however, and we have developed a system over time.

We try to figure out what we need, and then we begin our search for the most luscious and decadent fibers we can find at the best prices. We start with categories of what we want to bring in, ask about those yarns at every booth we go to, and then make charts and lists to compare all the yarns in our categories. We work very, very hard at finding the most incredible yarn that will work for any project you want to knit or crochet. It’s like a treasure hunt. It takes one entire day, from 10 until 6, to walk the floor to see what’s new, what trends are coming, and get a sense of the market in general. That’s all we did on Saturday.

We made notes on our map, touched lots of yarn, picked up lots of brochures, talked to lots of salespeople, and chose preliminary colors. But the close of market at 6:00 wasn’t the end of our day. That night, over dinner and continuing straight until a late bedtime, we compared our wish list with what we found. By the time it was all done, we knew we needed to visit 28 companies on Sunday between 10 and 6 to make our final selections. For the fibers and colors we had nailed down, we wrote our preliminary orders for each company so that we could get through everything in a few minutes at each place.

And on Sunday, we went to every one of those 28 booths. We talked to all of them and ordered yarn or patterns from most.

At 5:30 that day, we were done, with thirty minutes to spare. We got some dinner and crashed for the rest of the evening.

We'll tell you a little more about what we bought soon--but for the next time: How we became famous!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Winner!

Congratulations to Amy, who won the knitter's tote bag. She had the most sensible solution to our baggage problem in Indianapolis:

"A smart woman would have pulled up the the hotel and unloaded all her many bags onto one of those luggage dollys, and then park her car 2 blocks away. Since she had her partner with her, her partner could have checked them in while she was parking. How many times did you have to stop because your bags were falling off your shoulders? I guess at least twice."

You are correct, Amy. We had to stop at least twice.

More news on yarn market coming soon.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

When in Rome…. On touring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

We didn’t have to be at yarn market until 2:00 on Friday, and we weren’t able to do any planning until after we saw what was at market—so we decided be tourists that morning. Since we were in Indianapolis, the obvious choice was to go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We arrived on a good day--one of the few days offering the Grounds Tour this year, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the track, garages, and race control.

Tradition dictates that the winner of the Indianapolis 500 drink milk, climb the fence, and kiss the yard of bricks—the treasured remains of the original racetrack. We didn’t have any milk with us, and we weren’t allowed to climb the fence because of insurance purposes. But we didn’t much argue with the third tradition. Kim was first off the bus to kiss the bricks. Click on the link to see a very short film of Kim Kissing the Bricks. (As you can tell, she was born for the PC Screen.)

And Cynthia followed closely behind:

Okay then. Here we are, in a more normal tourist-like pose, standing before the bricks:

We also got to ride in a bus around the track, see the press room and media center, see where they videotape the cars, look at the race control room, and see the timing room.

During the whole tour, the tour guide kept telling us that we were winners. We had never quite thought of it that way, but we were able to handle the fame and glory with our typical modesty. Here we have Kim in the pressroom, immediately after fielding questions about her victory:

….and Cynthia celebrating on the victory platform:

When we were done winning, we drove on to the hotel. We had to park a couple of blocks from the hotel, and we didn’t feel like making more than one trip: Winners are efficient. We noticed that many people, even the panhandlers, laughed as we walked to the hotel. What a friendly city Indianapolis is!

As you gaze at this picture, think of all the alternatives a smart person would have instead of walking two city blocks with all this stuff. The winner who has our favorite solution will win this handy Knitting for Peace tote bag, from the upcoming book, Knitting for Peace (which we will have in the store when it is published):

Send email to stitchyourartout AT yahoo . com (no spaces).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shop owners can view and buy the latest yarns and fabrics in two ways. First, fabric and yarn reps to our shop to show the newest goods. That’s a two- to three-hour process and is lots of fun. The reps show us the new yarns and fabrics, and we choose colors, textures, and styles we think you will love. We have developed a new rule over the past year or so. If the item doesn’t make us both say, “Oh wow!” then we don’t get it. Our goal is to hear squeals and clapping when you walk in the door.

The other way for us to buy yarn and fabric is to go to market. That’s a two- to three-day process and is even more fun! This is when we ourselves get to squeal and clap—and, in the case of this past weekend, order in even more exciting yarns!

Yarn market this year was in Indianapolis, Indiana. We drove there in one day, starting out at 7:00 a.m. (those of you who know us understand that this is not an easy feat), stopping on the way for an irresistable peek at the National Quilting Association show in Columbus, Ohio. We saw some beautiful quilts there:

…including two made by our own quilting teacher, Sharleen:

We drove for 9 hours that day, made it all the way to just outside of Indianapolis, and collapsed at 10:00 that night.

Coming up next: How we began our Friday morning in Indianapolis.

Why did Kim and Cynthia kiss the ground they walked on?

How did they become Indianapolis media darlings?

What stars did they have in their eyes?

What will they have in store for you?

Read the answers to these questions in the upcoming days.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Winners!

The voters have spoken. We would like to congratulate Kim G. on her incredible prize-winning block. Take a closer look at her work:

Kim won, for her efforts, $75 worth of quilting goodies. We know the kind of quilting she does, so we were sure to include in her prize a copy of the book Quilting Masterpieces.

Lisa won the random drawing for her block, and she also received $75 in prizes (we happen to know that she likes to make rag quilts):

Ellen, Kathy, Kathryn, and Anne all won quilting or knitting door prizes:

And finally, we congratulate Carolyn on winning the random drawing for a $10 gift certificate, just for voting on a block via our Blog!

Happy knitting and quilting to all! And thank you for participating in our wonderful Anniversary week! We love being here and are grateful to everyone for your support of our shop.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Everyone loves a bargain--so you have two days left to hurry in for our Anniversary Sale!

Need some novelty yarns? We have a huge selection for you--you can buy one and get one on some or buy one and get two! If you love hunting for bargains, be sure to check our big pile of bagged yarns--all different kinds. Feel free to squeal in delight as you look through the pile. And we have other yarns on special--just look for the bright-yellow signs.

We have many wonderful fabrics on sale for $1.99, $2.99, $3.99, and $4.99 a yard. Dig through our box of 1-yard cuts for a buck. Fat quarters are buy 3, get 1 free.

Check out our back table for a great selection of knitting and quilting books and patterns that are buy 1, get 1 free.

So stop by and see what you can sniff out! And don't forget to look at yesterday's blog entry to see what block you want to vote for. Remember that if you vote via email, you will be entered in a drawing to win a $10 gift certificate!