Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chicago - Day Four

Saturday, September 12. We were SOOOO busy all day. By far the busiest day for us for this show. We found out later that half of the vendors had their best day on Friday and the other half of us reported our best day as Saturday. There were lots of people both days, don't get me wrong! But for my booth it felt more like Friday was shopping and Saturday was buying.

Anyway, I met this wonderful lady named Allison who it turns out lives here! We're now buds and she joins Jane and I for our weekly lunches at Randy's in Benicia.

After the show my brother and his wife came to visit and we went to dinner at Weber's Grill. The food was secondary - we haven't seen each other in something like 14 years so it was incredibly nice to have some time to sit and visit and catch up! Their son Matt is 26 and a Grad Student at Purdue, and Becky is 24 living in L.A. working to be an actress. Where the heck did the time go? They were just kids last time I saw them. I'm hoping we'll all be able to get together soon so I can see my niece and nephew!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicago - Day Three

Friday, September 11. It felt very strange to me to be doing a show on such an ominous day. September 11 feels to me like it should be a day of mourning; yet nobody seemed to even acknowledge what horrible day this day was the anniversary before I go any further let me take a moment to say that for anyone who was touched that day by the loss of someone special, I have not forgotten, nor will I ever, the horror of that morning. I hear people talk about always remembering exactly where they were when JFK died. I was too young to remember that. But I will never forget exactly what I was doing, who I was with, and the exact feelings of that morning.

Ray and I lived in his little condo in Antioch. The bust had made both of us unemployed. I had returned to college, and I was in my home office at my computer doing homework. Ray was in the living room working too. I always have the TV on, but it's usually on Tivo watching something that was recorded rather than live TV. Jillian called me from work and asked if I was watching TV and when I said no she just said "we're under terrorist attack." She then said she was at work and there were news reports of planes having hit the WTC and the Pentagon, so as I'm flipping the TV to a live feed I see the images. I went into the living room, carrying the phone with Jillian on the other end of the line with me. I relayed the news to Ray, who stopped what he was doing and flipped on his TV, and I'll never forget when I said terrorists had flown a plane into the Pentagon he said "why the hell didn't they shoot it down?"

The memories of those who died that day will never be forgotten. We always hear about the first responders, the firefighters and police officers who run into danger to rescue those of us who are running from it. I get it and respect the fact that the people who choose these occupations are heroes and I don't mean to diminish what they do, but I think it's important to recognize the people who were working in those buildings. So to the cafeteria employees, janitorial staff, file clerks, and everyone else who went about their jobs that day only to suffer a horrible end - my thoughts will always be with you and your loved ones. And I am so very sorry that events like this (Stitches and everything else we go to for fun) take our brains away from the respect we should be giving to everyone affected on 9/11/01.

The show went well - it was the busiest day of the weekend. And nothing else that happened that day even matters.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chicago - Day Two

Day two is really day one of the Marketplace...Thursday September 10 the Marketplace was open from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. for registered students. We really didn't know what to expect. Traditionally, classes at Stitches events fill up fast, but how many of those students actually come to the preview??

LOTS of them!! Everyone was SO excited to be there. It was awesome. I recognized SKA members pretty quick, as they came in talking about yellow sock yarn and that was followed by OMG THERE'S YELLOW SOCK YARN!! Yep, I was prepared for SKA's September challenge with plenty of Banana, Lemon Sorbet, Butterscotch, Pineapple Sherbet, and Caramel. Plenty of yummy sweet yellow choices. The most popular? Butterscotch. I had none left by close of business on Friday. Then the Lemon Sorbet went away too. The Banana left too - but it left to make a lovely shawl. She bought all of it. Caramel came home with me, which surprised me because it's really a warm and beautiful gold. And the Pineapple Sherbet? Gone. I kinda wanted to use that one after seeing these socks knitted by a SKA member. Simply gorgeous, eh?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chicago - Day One

Finally! Time to add to the blog.

Wednesday. September 9, 2009. We arrived on Tuesday the 8th, and on Wednesday the 9th we went to the convention center to set up. The nightmares I'd had were realized: my boxes were not there. I had my receipts showing the tracking numbers, and we'd checked online the night before and it said that a notice had been left at the warehouse. Not quite sure what that meant, Viper Tradeshow services checked the tracking numbers and claimed to be confused, because the warehouse is one that is always staffed, and they claimed there is no way the post office tried to deliver something and found nobody there. As I tried really hard NOT to totally freak out, but in the back of my mind was thinking that maybe the boxes had been returned to CA and I was there with no product, we went to lunch and perused the area. Then we went back around noon and sat in our empty booth and knitted for an hour, and then we were presented with the shipment. The folks from Viper Tradeshow had gone to the post office and picked up the boxes. Unfortunately they'd taken my receipts with them and left them. $300 in tax-deductible receipts. Gone. I still have to deal with trying to reprint those.

Anyway, we set up the tables/cubes in record time, finishing in only 2 hours. We opted not to stock the cubes that day because we knew we could fill them with inventory on Thursday. Less chance of theft, and more time to think about the layout. And time to go to U.S. Cellular Field to see our hometown Oakland A's lose to the White Sox.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Home from Chicago

I'll post some info about the trip to Chicago and Stitches Midwest soon, but I have to mention the house when I got home this evening. Sofie, Bailey, Simon, and Chanel stayed home while Nelson and Katie were boarded so they could have their medications. Lisa was coming in to feed/water/scoop and generally make sure they were all alive and well. I got home this evening around 6:30 and Bailey greeted me at the door. I walked in and discovered they'd cleaned out their food container and not even a morsel was available. Plenty of water, but no food. Like it would really hurt any of these chubbos to miss a meal!! Anyway, I immediately added plenty of food to the bowl, opened a can of wet food as a nice 'welcome home mommy treat', and as I walked through the kitchen I see packages of crackers and taco shells on the stove. The ziploc bag that contained crackers was chewed through.

Now, Bailey is the only one who is really smart (and onery) enough to get into kitchen cabinets looking for food, so I know he is the guilty one!! The cabinet that holds canned food was open, despite me having blocked it (or so I thought) with a step stool. He was not smart enough to get a can open though.

So this is what a bag of cheese crackers looks like that have been attempted to be opened by a hungry cat. I think this bag needs to go immediately to the garbage. I'm not sure what he thought he'd do with the tea bags...tea and crumpets, er, crackers?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stitches Midwest

So we flew into Chicago O'Hare on Tuesday, and got settled into our hotel. I am SO glad we went to the Convention Center Wednesday morning because when we got there, the booth was empty. The warehouse folks were supposed to have the boxes delivered to the booth, but there was nothing there but the pre-ordered tables. I took my delivery receipts to the administrator, and the post office theoretically left notices at the warehouse of an attempt to deliver, but the warehouse folks swear that is not true.

Viper Tradeshow services had been paid for material handling already, so I offered to go to the post office myself and track down the boxes if they'd trade me the fee I'd paid for another table, but instead they did the right thing and sent one of their staff to the post office to retrieve them. I was sweating it big time because I had fear that the post office had actually returned the boxes, since the attempt to deliver had been 10 days earlier, and that would put me here in Chicago with my inventory somewhere between here and the Bay Area. Fortunately that fear was unfounded. The boxes were at the post office and were delivered to the booth about 12:30-1:00 on Wednesday so we got it all set up. We decided to put the grids together and wait until Thursday to put the inventory up, so we left the convention center around 4.

We went to see our home team Oakland A's play the White Sox. We gave up in the 12th inning and went back to the hotel, listening to the end of the game on the way. The A's lost. Big surprise there. We sat by the nicest people though! The lady next to me kept saying "oh my, last time I came I sat by someone who was visiting their home team and we lost so we'll probably lose now." Her sister, sitting next to her, was a Sox die hard. Complete attire from her T-shirt and jersey, which she later added a hoodie when it got chilly, and her tote bag and backpack and probably earrings all sporting her beloved Sox logo. But when the A's messed up, making 2 errors, she leaned around her sister to high five me and say "your A's f*** up as bad as my Sox!!!"

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blankie Mania

There is a group on Ravelry called Blankie Mania. These folks make blankets out of sock yarn. I've seen some of the pictures and I spoke with several enthusiasts of this craft when I was at Sock Summit. Absolutely a labor of love! I haven't even finished a baby sized blanket made of worsted weight yarn that I started like 8 months ago! I would probably never finish an entire blanket made of sock yarn. But I have to say that these are some beautiful items. Mitered squares of many colors, sewn together with love. You couldn't do two alike if you tried.

This wonderful group has initiated a dessert-inspired yarn swap. 20 members of this group each purchase one full-size hank of my yarn from my Etsy site, and once all those orders are placed I send the whole thing to the group leader, Terri in Idaho. She will then painstakingly break each 400+ yard skein into 20 mini skeins of about 20 yards each, and then each participant gets 20 mini skeins. What a deal. But what an ordeal for Terri. I love the opportunity to get my yarn into the hands of 20 new customers, and I'm so going to enjoy seeing their work. Hopefully they'll share pictures of the blankets in progress!

Anyway, the first orders have come in, and here's what they've chosen so far. Nice array, eh? I think they're choosing a really nice variety.

On another note, I finished a pair of baby socks using Witch's Brew. They'll be gifted to Miss Marina so she can celebrate Halloween in style. But not until after I display them in my booth at Stitches Midwest next weekend!