Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yarn Market News Conference in Seattle, Washington

I am just back from 5 days in Seattle with my oldest daughter Madeleine (the recipient of the Rowan kid silk haze dress shown earlier). I was attending the annual Yarn Market News Conference--a collection of about 100 yarn shop owners and numerous yarn shop suppliers. It is my third year of attending this conference. It is organized by the publishers of Vogue Knitting and they always put on an incredible conference. It is always a very rejuvenating experience for me. The staff at The Needle Lady usually wait anxiously for the reorganization of the shop that occurs after every one of these conferences. Remember when we painted the walls and the outside of the shop blue? That was the first conference. Elizabeth started this blog after the first conference. Perhaps you remember us all fumbling over the new Point of Sale System? That was the second conference. Who knows what's ahead for the shop now?

Here is another in the "it's a small world" category. While strolling through the Pike Place Market last Friday, I ran into Carol Fitzgerald--a Needle Lady customer from New Jersey. We were first admiring each others sweaters, and as our glance moved to the face, we realized we knew each other. Here we are---Carol in her self designed Blue Heron Chenille pullover, and I in my Strickwear Box Sweet sweater. I usually see Carol every year at the Charlottesville Festival of the Book and neither of us could make it this year--we chanced upon each other in Seattle instead. Thanks Carol for sending the picture.

Carol and Mimi

Another highlight of the conference is the chance to visit yarn shops in the host city. Seattle is home to some great shops. I visited Tricoter, which has always held a special place in my heart, because their first book Simply Beautiful Sweaters is one of my favorites and includes the pattern for "Lucy's Sweater" knit from Colinette Fandango and Zanziba. I think the proceeds from the numerous copies of the book and yarn for that sweater kept us afloat in that first year we were in business. I bought up many copies when it went out of print--I may still have a few in the shop. I know I have one on my shelf at home.

Simply Beautiful Sweaters.

Another shop that I thoroughly enjoyed was Churchmouse Yarns & Teas located on beautiful Bainbridge Island a short ferry ride from Seattle. We knew it would be a wonderful afternoon when we boarded the ferry in rain, and landed on the island in sunshine.

Bainbridge Island, Washington home of Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

After a fabulous lunch at Cafe Nola, we visited Kit at Churchmouse. I have to admit I suffered "yarn shop envy" . It was a beautiful shop--and Kit had an office to die for. Kit and her husband John have created a beautiful yarn and tea shop and were such generous hosts to all of the visiting shop owners. It's tough to be judged by a jury of your peers.

They have just published a set of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Classic patterns. These are small project patterns that use anywhere from 1 to 3 skeins of yarn. The patterns are accompanied by the stunning photography of Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed). I have ordered these beautiful patterns for the shop---they should be in by the weekend. There is a ruffled scarf knit with Koigu, a great man's scarf and hat out of Ultra Alpaca, footies for use in your Dansko clogs ( I did discover that Seattle and Charlottesville, and yarn shop owners must keep Dansko in business), a featherweight kid silk haze wrap and much more. Even if you never knit the project, the photos will transport you. Here is John and Kit in the tea section of their shop:

John and Kit, owners of Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

Madeleine and I capped off our trip with an incredible day on Mt. Rainier. An old friend of mine that lives in Seattle supplied us with all of the maps and gear and instruction that we needed to snowshoe on Mt. Rainier. It was unbelievable--not only because it was a crystal clear gorgeous sunny day. We reached a place where we had unobstructed views of Mt. St. Helen, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams--it was as if you were in another world. Thank you, Keith!

Mt. Rainier

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