Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Impressive Sow's Ear!

Hi Knitters,
Get ready for a long one today! I can't help myself.

I have to start by saying that The Sow's Ear event was one of the most successful yarn shop events I have ever had. I even stayed an extra hour because there were still so many people at the table enjoying the toys and the books. I couldn't just pack up and leave. It was awesome! Any author couldn't have dreamed of a better reception than this. Thank you to everyone who stopped by yesterday. What fun. What struck me most was that people didn't want to leave the shop and the event, they stayed and stayed for hours. The shop makes everyone want to move in, I guess. That's very telling, it's like you can't get enough.

You know you can't go wrong when you start off an event with a visitor like this one (photo above)! I was at The Sow's Ear for the afternoon yesterday and look who wandered in. Meet Katrina. She is 16 months old and is wearing the Pink Paper Bag Hat from Itty-Bitty Hats (it's the cover hat). Instead of pulling the ducks on their wheels Katrina liked picking the whole thing up and carrying it around. I love that.
Katrina's mom, Jasmine, knitted the hat for her daughter and I was happy to meet both of them. Jasmine's husband is in Iraq and has been there for 2 years now. He has only seen Katrina five times but he is expected home in January. Katrina and Jasmine stayed with me for a long time at The Sow's Ear in Verona, Wisconsin but that seemed to be the theme of the day for this wonderful book signing event yesterday.

Katrina must have walked all the way around the table a good twenty times. One time on her route behind my chair I actually got her to stop for a second so I could hold her for a bit. She sat on my lap for a good long time. It was great.
I thought this series of photos was so funny. I love to hold a baby but Katrina wasn't too sure about me...
... after a little work her mom got a little smile out of her.... I tried to win her over...
... I went in for the squeeze but Katrina wasn't feeling it.... look at her expression and the lean back ... so funny...
Katrina was clearly over me .... I still managed to get a tiny dose of baby love for the day. Thanks for the hug, well, sort of, Katrina! You made my day. She was awfully sweet and entertaining. Jasmine was an enthusiastic knitter to say the least. Thanks for coming and for waking up from your nap to see me, Katrina.
The steady flow of knitters began right at the starting time and it did not stop the entire time. It was so much fun and well-attended. I was impressed by the entire event. Heather, one of the shop managers, was incredibly friendly and accommodating. The shop features a wonderful coffee cafe. I had a fantastic lemonade and a pumpkin spice coffee on the house. I loved it. Thank you for taking care of the tired and thirsty author, Heather. You are wonderful and welcoming and warm. Heather took the photos for me, too.
I signed and signed and signed. It was awesome. We went through stacks of books that knitters bought at the event and loads of people brought their copies with them to be signed. It was a very successful signing and I highly recommend this shop to other authors/designers/ publishers for a fun spot to visit for events. You could not find a happier, warmer crowd of knitters anywhere.

I sincerely feel like I have rediscovered this shop. I used come out and knit and shop here but I hadn't been for a long while just due to being too busy. I am definitely scheduling some hanging out time here in the near future. It is too fun to not take advantage of when a shop like this is right in your hometown. If you see me hanging out and knitting at The Sow's Ear be sure to say hello! They have knit nights until 11pm every first and third Thursday of the month. That's too late for me but I hear it is an absolute zoo of enthusiastic knitters on these nights. It sounds really fun!
Sara, who I have met through my blog, made her way up from Platteville, WI, to come to the event. She was so sweet and even sat next to me for awhile in that empty chair at the table. She has been such a positive source of support for a long time. Sara is a retired kindergarten teacher and I bet she was an excellent teacher, I can tell. She has a kind way about her. Thank you, Sara, it was great to meet you.

I don't have a photo but there was another sweet woman who had just moved to Madison recently. She came and sat next to me for a little while so I could help her learn the twisted loop stitch for the baby doll's hair. She couldn't believe how simple it was and once she tried a couple of stitches, she had it made in the shade! She was thrilled.

Another woman brought her finished baby doll with her and it turned out so great. She was very proud of her doll and told me she had been looking for a knitted baby doll pattern for years. She was so excited about the doll pattern. That was fun to hear.
These two were celebrating the birth of their first grandchild. They stopped by to have a book signed on their way to Milwaukee to meet their new baby boy! The husband wanted to buy one of the reversible toys... I thought that was funny. He was serious. He understood when I explained the toys weren't for sale. His wife will just have to get knitting for that new grand baby right away!
The woman in red coat works with my husband. She was so sweet to come and stay for awhile at the signing. My husband just loves working with her. She doesn't even knit but bought a book anyway. Isn't that nice? I loved seeing her and she just loved the toys. She came to a signing a couple of years ago and visited with my mom for a long time at that event. I'll always remember that. She is a kind supportive soul.

What I love in the photo above and the next few photos is the little girl in the striped hat. She started at one end and...
... systematically worked her way down the table...
... quietly touching and trying out every toy...
... until she got to the very end! That's the way to do it! Love the hat, too:) She was very cute.
These two knitting friends were so excited. The woman on the left brought her finished puppy from Itty-Bitty Toys to share. It turned out great. She used a little heavier yarn, which is just fine, so her puppy turned out a little bigger. That's the good thing about toy knitting, you don't have to worry so much about the gauge if you don't mind having a toy that turns out a little bigger or smaller than the one in the book.

It was great fun to meet these ladies!
Sara got some good lovin' from the friendly giraffe. I love how the arms are draped around her neck like a baby.
It was awesome, there was a kids knitting class going on at the same time as the signing. The teacher, Liz, let the girls take a break to come and see the toys. Grace (in blue) was wearing the hat they were making in class and she actually finished her own hat by the end of the day. I think the two middle girls were in the hat knitting class and that's just my little toy buddy on the end.

Grace basically wouldn't leave the shop after her class until her mom bought her a copy of Itty-Bitty Toys. Her mom finally gave in, being the kind soul that she is, and Grace is now planning on making the New Sock Monkey as her first toy! It was a funny exchange, the whole thing. I enjoyed it.
This was another little girl who spent a ton of time at the table. She would come and play with the toys and then she would leave. Then a little while later she would reappear again to play for awhile. This happened three or four times. She was very quiet but entranced by the knitted toys. I love seeing older kids, teens and adults get as much joy out the the toys as the little ones do. My dear friend, Chris, showed up and also stayed a long time. Her daughter works at the shop, too. I have to tell you something special about Chris. She was my obstetrician when The Collector was born. She came to the hospital when she wasn't even on call in the middle of the night for her delivery. She was born at about 3am. That's a true friend alright. Our sons grew up best friends and we all spent countless hours at each others' homes together and traveled together on family vacations for many years. We have many connections in different ways and I will always consider Chris a very dear and special friend. I am a lucky girl to have her. Isn't she cute? She gives the best hugs ever.
I was intrigued by these large flat cakes of wool. It is unspun wool by School House Press (Elizabeth and Meg Zimmerman's Pittsville, WI company). You can double the strand and knit on a size 8 at about 4 stitches per inch or on a single strand on a size 3 for 7 stitches per inch or so. I would like to have all of those yarn cakes for my house, please:) They are really cool. The Sow's Ear had all sorts of unique yarns that I hadn't seen before. The inventory is fantastic and full and organized. It's simply a great shop!
The shelves are packed to the brim with loads of fantastic yarn.
This is my friend Chris's daughter, Kate. Kate loves working at the shop and is their best barista I have heard from a reliable source. I have known Kate since she was 10-years-old and she is in her early twenties now. She is adorable and fun! It was great to see her post-college and looking so young and happy with her life.
The shop houses many rooms including this spacious area for eating and knitting and sipping coffee and tea. It is a wonderful setting.
I have sat many times and knitted, with Chris in fact, in the little window nook to the left right there. You can't see it that well because it is always occupied and I didn't want to disturb the knitters in there. There are some cozy chairs tucked in that spot.
The shop is a little old house with a big front porch. It is on the main street in downtown Verona, which is about 15 minutes from my house. Verona is really considered a part of Madison in many ways. It is very quaint.
The sign is even endearing with the sow sporting a pilgrim hat for the season.
A little cement pig greets you at the steps.
I love the mosaic table on the front porch. It was such an unseasonably warm day that there were people sitting out on the porch when I arrived.
Inside there are buttons, bags, patterns, books, tons of yarn and needles, etc. You can't go wrong here.
Thank you, Sow's Ear!!!! What a day to remember. I hope to be back real soon.

Heather and I talked about setting up a workshop sometime soon so keep your eyes out for that if you are interested.

Also, Madison Knitters Pay Attention: The Sow's Ear is getting an account with Spud & Chloë! Your waiting is over in the Madison area for a shop to carry Spud & Chloë. This is very exciting news. Thank you! I will be sending everyone your way to get their Spud & Chloë yarns and patterns. The shop will be getting the line very soon so also keep your eyes and ears out for this development. You would not believe how many emails I get from Madison knitters wanting Spud & Chloë in a local shop and now I will send them right over!

Phew! What a day! I am home for the holiday week so it won't be restful but it will be loads of family time together. Plus, my son is turning 18 years old next weekend. It is a big week around here.

If you are still with me, thanks for sticking it out to the end!
Have a good Sunday knitters.
best, susie