Friday, June 28, 2013

To Winona and Back

Hi, Knitters,
Edited to add: Dropcloth is having a 20% off sale on Etsy! I just ordered more. Sale Code: MICHIGANSUMMER 

Well, what a great response to the Dropcloth Sampler post and giveaway! I'm amazed at how many of you (hundreds!) are interested in the stitching just like me. I loved hearing about how many of you stitched in your younger days and many even commented on the Holly Hobbie stitchery kits from the 70s. I still have one that is unopened! Click here to see some Holly Hobbie embroidery kits.

The winner of the Dropcloth Original Embroidery Sampler is jaclyn622 (rav id)!!! Congratulations.

The winner of the Dropcloth Color Wheel Sampler is rachelunraveled (rav id)!!! Congratulations.

I have sent a pm on Ravelry to each of the winners informing them of the wins. The winners need to send me their mailing addresses to pass on to Rebecca Ringquist to send out their samplers. Don't forget about her fabulous online embroidery classes, too!

I'll have another giveaway very soon. Thanks to everyone for entering.

Now for a few details about my trip to Yarnology in Winona, Minnesota yesterday. In preparation for the trip I wound a few skeins of Quince & Co. Chickadee in the Frank's Plum colorway. This sport weight 100% wool is so bouncy and round that it is even fun just to wind into yarn cakes. If you haven't tried this yarn, you really should and right away. It is hard to describe. The yarn is springy, bouncy, tightly plied, and incredibly pleasant to the touch. I love it so much.

Since I was traveling yesterday I set my open Little Skein in the Big Wool project bag beside my swift and ball winder so I could pop the yarn cakes, pattern, Signature Convertible 32-inch US size 6 needles, and my Little Skein Snoopy stitch markers right inside to throw in the car with me. I kitted it all right up to go.

I am knitting Paula Emons-Fuessle's newest Quince & Co. shawl design called Lullaby Rain.  This is Paula's fifth shawl design for Quince (click here to see all 5 shawls). I love all of her shawls so much and this one especially makes my heart skip a beat. I can't explain why I am slightly obsessed with Lullaby Rain but it may have to do with the photo below.....

I adore this photo and the shawl and the umbrella and the colors and the model and the name of the shawl ..... it is all striking. I already had 5 skeins of Quince & Co. Chickadee in Frank's Plum in my stash and they will now become Lullaby Rain.  Perfection in the making.

Here is the start of Lullaby Rain, so far so good. It is a clear pattern, as Paula is known to do, with written out and charted stitch pattern instructions. Paula is a wonderful pattern writer, very thorough. I think that comes with years of knitting experience. She thinks ahead of anything that could possibly come up along the way and then explains it in her pattern for you.

Paula is hosting a Lullaby Rain Knitalong which you could join if interested. Click here to find out more.

Lullaby Rain kept me company for the car ride along with my husband who drove me to Yarnology for my book signing event at the shop.

Now I have made the road trip to Minnesota more times than I could count, literally. As a child I rode with my family to Anoka, MN many times a year to visit our grandparents and other relatives. My grandparents had a little lake cabin near Brainerd and we would go there in the summers as well. My brother went to school and lived in Maple Grove for awhile and now one of my sons goes to college in Minnesota. There is a long Minnesota history in my family. The point of this is that with the many times I have driven to Minnesota I had never taken the route through LaCrosse, Wisconsin and La Crescent, Minnesota along the Mississippi River. It is one of the prettiest stretches I have seen. The high bluffs and stone formations, hills and valleys, and rich, lush greenery filled my view with natural beauty. The river is high, turbulent and interesting. There are scenic bridges along the way as well. I really enjoyed the view out my window.

Plus, it is always fun to get to do something alone with my husband, a rare occurrence. He is an all-around good person and ever-generous to take a day off to go with me to Minnesota. He does so much for our family and especially me. We are lucky. More on my husband later in the post.

This photo doesn't illustrate how pretty it all actually was but that right there is the Ol' Miss. Even the sky was picturesque. My mom told me stories of learning to swim in the Mississippi River when she was a child. It didn't sound fun or safe (she was thrown in) and I am glad she survived. How anyone made it through is a miracle to me. 

Anyway, once I arrived at Yarnology things moved quickly.  I quickly set up my samples from Topsy-Turvy and a few samples from my other books and people began filing in. It was such a great group of knitters, many traveled several hours to get to the event. I always appreciate that effort. I talked to lots of knitters, signed stacks of books (many brought all 5 of my books to sign!). The shop is adorable with friendly staff, great yarn selection, books galore and anything else you could imagine. The space is roomy and inviting and the owners could not have been friendlier or happier. The event was a hit.

Somehow while I was chatting with the group Badger football came up and I mentioned that my husband played Badger football in the 80s. Actually, now that I think of it, it was Rhonda (above) who asked if I would knit a badger toy. It turns out Rhonda and her family are huge Badger football fans. Gabby, the shop owner, later told me Rhonda was hoping to see my husband when he picked me up and to get him to sign one of her books. I thought that was hilarious and fun. Rhonda was way more excited about my husband and the football than the knitting! I love it.

I called my husband when things were winding down after the event to come and get me at the shop. He wanted me to just run out while he parked at the curb but I insisted he come inside the shop and didn't tell him the reason.

When he got there Rhonda sweetly had him sign her Itty-Bitty Toys book and pose for some photos. She was so funny and cute. Above the three of us posed so Rhonda could share with her family. My husband is a good sport to say the least. I told you he was tall.

After the book signing and chatting time was over and people cleared out a bit I was able to get a few photos of the shop. I was so happy that I even got to have 2 new babies, just weeks old, and a funny toddler join the group of knitters for the night. One thing with this group is that many mentioned this blog to me and how much they enjoy reading it. That is always fun to hear and I appreciate people telling me that. It makes all of the hard work and effort worth it!

The shop is clean, open and warm. There is an upstairs and a downstairs, too. It is a very big space.

There are great samples everywhere you look and the yarn is clearly marked and displayed. The shop has some interesting local yarns and loads of popular yarns. There is something for everyone.

Above are the shop owners, Gabby and Kelly. Thanks for a fun-filled evening! The owners had snacks and sparkling water with lemon waiting for the guests. They wrapped each reserved book with a pretty ribbon and name tag which was a warm and personal touch. I really liked that. The entire feel of the night was warm and touching. They made me feel so welcome and wanted. I appreciate it.

This is little Sibylle. She is two. She is very cute. She enjoyed the toys as a 2-year-old does. After she was done with the doll she began tearing pages out of her mom's Itty-Bitty Nursery book. I love and enjoy 2-year-old antics anytime. Her mom was lovely and so was Sibylle. Sibylle also enjoyed the real-life babies at the event and wanted to hug them. She was very entertaining.

Here is a long shot of the shop.

The outside is adorable as the shop (look at those cute baby sweaters!) is nestled in an historic main street area of Winona. Winona was old, little and charming. You feel like you stepped back in time while there. I love little cities like this and Yarnology fits right in. I can tell it is a beloved shop.

The granny squared pole marks the entrance spot, nice touch.

After the event my husband and I stopped at a local eatery to grab a bite to eat before the 2.5 hour drive home. The homemade cookies in those jars were enormous and delicious. We had soup and a sandwich with everything on it. It hit the spot.

The place was called the Acoustic Cafe and the food and atmosphere was cute. Thanks to Yarnology for having me and thanks to Artisan Books (my publisher) for sending me and thanks to my husband for coming along. 

It was a good night.
best, susie