Saturday, March 06, 2010

Nina's a Well-Knit Shop

Hi Knitters,
All I can say about Nina: a well-knit shop in Chicago is a big huge WOW! It is a sleek, modern, gorgeous knit shop and I was impressed. Love the giant needles in action in the front window. The shop is set in a hip neighborhood surrounded by lots of little shops and eateries. The buildings are old and that is why it is intriguing to step inside the older facade to find this ultra-modern knitting haven.
I feel like Nina (the owner) has thought about every inch of her shop. The placement of every item, display, seating, storage, lighting, shelving... just everything is so well-thought out. The shop is incredibly well-organized and thorough. This makes the shop an experience everyone can enjoy with ease. It is like a breath of fresh air. The yarns are all within reach, patterns and books are placed with yarns. It all makes perfect sense. The staff is friendly and attentive but not over-bearing. They were really fun and courteous. I enjoyed every aspect of this shop. You will, too!
I arrived about an hour before my event started and I used that time to get some photos of the shop and to set up the trunk show of projects. I signed a small stack of books that people had bought ahead of time for me to sign. You know you can do that if you can't make an event and you want your book signed, just call the shop to let them know. Any shop will send the signed book out to you after the event. Nina is a huge supporter of Blue Sky Alpacas and Spud & Chloë which is fun to see. People started arriving early so I was glad I was there and set to greet them.

There was a great turnout which is always fun. When it was the most busy and crowded I didn't have a chance to take photos but I'll share some of the special moments and people I did capture. It was a fantastic event! The shop was really bubbling over with people and I signed a ton of books, including lots of sets of all three Itty-Bitty Books. There was a long line at the register and people had books and armloads of yarn to purchase. It was a happy, happy event!
This beautiful mother/daughter team were so fun and adorable. The mom, Mary Jo, made me the most interesting brooch. It is like the one she is wearing. I didn't notice until I got home but the rose is made out of an opened zipper. I'll get a good photo of it later, it is way cool. The Collector actually noticed the zipper aspect. I popped my new pin right on my sweater and enjoyed it for the rest of the day. A handmade gift to me is better than gold or diamonds any day. I will wear my pin with pride. Thank you so much for thinking of me, Mary Jo. Her daughter, Kelly, is awaiting the arrival of her first baby in June. It was funny because her friend, Becky (Hi Becky!!), had come to an event in Dayton the day before and told me about Kelly. Love that small world stuff.

I hope I am getting the names correct.
I can tell I am still a little under the weather because I keep blanking on people's names and usually I remember names easily. The knitter above (I think it's Michelle?) emailed me photos of her little girls wearing the Sweetheart Hat and I do remember the photo and her girls being so adorable. She was really fun and stayed a long time. She was so joyful about her knitting. It was contagious. It was a treat to meet you!
This group of women came early and stayed to the very end of the event. They were so fun and enthusiastic, I loved it. This photo was after almost everyone had already left.
This is Maggie and she made a reversible cat and mouse toy and a lamb and a cupcake hat from Itty-Bitty Nursery. They are wonderful!!! I love it when people bring their knitting to share. That's always the best.
Kelly knitted up all of these Spud & Chloë gems. Ribbit, Rabbit and the Heart on a String Hat are all free patterns that you can get here. The other hat is the Hoot Hat that you can order here. She did a wonderful job. Oh and that's her sock monkey from Itty-Bitty Toys face down on the counter. She did a great job on that, too.
Here is a closer look! Look how good those are. Kelly also made a bunch of Itty-Bitty Hats that I was so glad she brought to share with me. It makes all of the hard work worthwhile when I get to see people knitting and enjoying my patterns and books. That's really the best thing of all.
Another friend popped in to say hello. Remember this post? I was thrilled to get to meet Kris in person. I recognized her giraffe before I recognized her. I love the face on her giraffe. The eyes look twinkly.
Kris is so cute and just look at all of us together. We belong together. lol. Here you can see my flower pin. So sweet. That's Nina right behind us, too. She had the cutest green jacket on that had an orange ribbon tie at the waist. I want one of those:)

This woman has a daughter who owns a preschool named, Olive You Nursery School. She, of course, had to make the Olive You! hat from Itty-Bitty Hats. She is moving to Wisconsin, not too far from Madison, very soon to start her dream mini-farm with a prairie and bee keeping amongst other things. She was so excited and sweet. Good luck!! Love the hat. It is one of my favorites.
Kris's giraffe is called, Geoffrey, and I thought this was such a funny shot of him sticking out of her bag for the train trip home. There is something so sweet about her giraffe. It is well done.
There were quite a few kids and babies. At one point when the shop was packed full with knitters, two women with a huge double-wide stroller came inside with a couple of babies in knit hats. I'm not kidding that I was worried about the stroller in the shop with all of the people. The babies started fussing and crying and one of the women made a quick exit along with the stroller but I think the other woman got to stay at the shop which is good.

Two brothers became obsessed with the Baby Doll. As her boys were playing with the doll the mom said to me, "It's too bad I didn't have that pattern when my boys were younger (they are 3 and 5). We bought a plush doll for them." As she said that we looked over and her boys were both hovering over the baby on the couch playing with her clothes and hat. I think she still has plenty of time to make that doll for her boys! They were in love with the baby doll.

I asked her if I could take a photo or two of her boys as they were so excited and interested in all of the toys. She told them to hold a toy for the photo. The older boy quickly scrambled to pick his favorite toys. I love what he chose. The egg to bluebird and nest, the baby doll and the bunny. Isn't he the cutest thing?
The younger brother went straight for the reversible lion to elephant toy. He did a series of flips for me to make sure I saw how it worked. See how the toy is blurry? He was flipping it back and forth as fast as he could. It was the best. Love it:)
I loved the toy clutching of the older brother and the fantastic demonstration by his little brother still flipping away. They were wonderful boys. The older boy told me his mom is going to make him the egg and bluebird first! Good choice.
Look at these visitors. Aren't they cute? They were both so happy. The baby is wearing his Turtle hat from Itty-Bitty Hats. I had to catch these lovelies as they headed to check out with their arms filled with Blue Sky Cotton and Spud & Chloë Sweater. That's a good choice as those are about the best baby yarns ever.

One other funny thing is that I had one man come to have me sign Itty-Bitty Toys for his ex-mother-in-law. That's a first. He told me they are still very close. I loved that story. I also had another man come in to have me sign a book for his wife as she couldn't make it. Both men ran for the door right after I signed their books. Too good.
This lovely woman lives in Madison not far from my house. I have known her for years and she has been a constant positive supporter. I adore her. Her name is Susie, too. I am holding her bear from Itty-Bitty Toys that she made out of Noro Kureyon sock yarn. Susie drove down with her husband to come to the event. He waited patiently for her in a nearby parking lot and did some work to pass the time. He deserves a gold star because Susie stayed a long time. After the event they were going to go over to visit some of her family that lives in Chicago. I was pretty touched to see her walk through the door. She had come to my first event in Madison, then showed up to bring her friend at my second Madison event and now to make the effort in Chicago? That's a good knitting friend right there. Susie has grown children and grandchildren. She knits for everyone. What I love most about Susie is how she loves to try new things. She's game for about anything! I wish you could have seen her beautiful knitted green sweater under that coat. It looked perfect on her.

One more funny thing about Susie is that her nickname is Sooz. I had never met another Sooz before her. When I was in high school all of my friends called me Sus and Shoosha (which is the shortened version of Shoshana with a twist) and Sooz. I used to sign my name Sooz and sometimes, and I am embarrassed to admit this, it was The Sooz. That is so funny. I was like The Fonz. Yeah, pretty cool, right? Oh my gosh I was such a goof.
Here is another amazing blog friend who made a huge effort to show up. This is Chris Fleming. I feel like I know her. She comments on the blog all of the time. She sends me sweet emails. She is a happy knitter and I can't tell you how much it means to me to get to meet her. I teared up when she walked through the door. She brought me a wonderful gift basket and she even knitted something for me! I'll share more about that later. It was a HUGE treat to meet you, Chris. Thank you so much for all of your support and good will. You are an awesome and positive force.
Chris brought another treat to share with me. She was inspired by my book review of Kristin Nicholas' book, Color by Kristin. She made this gorgeous pillow top from the book. I love it. Kristin, if you are reading isn't this fun? Chris just loves Kristin's work and so do I!

Anyway, I have been working on this post all day in bits and pieces. If you are still with me, thank you for reading. I want to extend a huge thank you to Nina and her wonderful staff, Sam and Hillary. You were such great people to meet and you hosted a fabulous event. It was seamless and busy and fun! Great work and a heartfelt thank you from Artisan and me!

I hope to come back again sometime soon! Nina: a well-knit shop knows how to be a gracious host. It was so well done. Wow. I can't get over it. Nina thought of everything to make it a successful event for everyone. They had delicious cookies and water and appetizers. I was eating the cookies by the end of the event, not sure how many but lots. I am singing Nina's praises for sure. Please make an effort visit Nina's or to call and order from this shop. They will ship whatever you'd like straight to you! Nina's shop carries the most extraordinary and beautiful yarns and accessories.

What a good way to end this leg of the tour.
best, susie