Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Life has been a whirlwind lately, as one can see from the date of my last post.  

I've been keeping busy at the store (shocking, isn't it?) with the arrival of our Fall yarns.  Our most recent shipment is from Malabrigo and the beautiful yarns just went on the shelves today!  We welcome Chunky to our existing lineup of Merino Worsted, Sock, and Lace.  We have carried some colors over from our existing lines and added a few new/different ones.  I am preparing to cast my own project in Chunky as I type.  I have selected the Dolores Park Cowl by Parikha Mehta; it's just a matter of color selection right now and who knows how long that could take, lol! 

The knitting projects continue to be started more frequently than the rate of completion, but a few are nearing the finish line.  The Little Pumpkin hat was a quick knit from itty-bitty hats by Susan B. Anderson.  I knit it up with Cascade 220 Superwash for a washable project that knit up in one evening!  I do have a couple tasks that are taking my time right now, but I am sure I will find some time to knit on the UFOs. 

One of the projects I am working on is for the Beaver Dam Community Library.  Their 7th Annual Crochet and Knit-a-thon is Saturday, November 6th and we are providing some prizes for the event.  If you are able to attend, it is from 11am - 4pm at the library.  This is time to bring your supplies and work with other stitchers on a project for the community.  They will be collecting handmade items in November and December so this is a great time to get started on something for those in need this Winter.  As added incentive, the prizes we are providing are SO MUCH FUN!  I will share the project details when they are ready and I guarantee you will want one and they will make you smile! 

As if that's not enough excitement... I am bursting at the seams in anticipation of our first CSA delivery tomorrow!!!  Thank you so much to Sarah C. for introducing me to her farm after my post about the Farmer's Market; my customers are the BEST!  I can't wait to pick up our bounty of fresh veggies and get creative in the kitchen.  Those of you that know me, know I love healthy cooking and not having as much time lately to cook has been difficult for me.  Cooking is a wonderful way for me to release stress, nurture others, and enjoy some good grub in the process.  I hope that the combo of a little spare time and a box full of fresh veggies staring at me will provide the jump start I need to get back to my cooking.  

I will keep you posted!  Until then... 

Cheers!
Alisa 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall is in the air

Can you feel it?  That slight chill that indicates it's time for all things knitted?  I want to curl up under an afghan with a cup of tea and knit the day away.  Unfortunately, I have a list a mile long of things to do, but a girl can dream.


I have been able to get some knitting time in, most of it in the wee hours of the night.  My projects selections as of late are very enjoyable so I am frequently up late because I just can't put my needles down. Here are a couple projects that have made it from UFO to FO status: 


One of my customers inspired me the day we opened our doors to make the Pashmina Cowl from Last Minute Knitted Gifts in Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight.  I cast on at the end of July as my "non-thinking" project and was weaving my ends in just a couple weeks ago.  I love this pattern and the warmth and softness of the yarn is spectacular!





 
I've also been wanting to knit up Braided by Susan B. Anderson for months now and finally found time!  Now I wonder what I was waiting for because it was such a quick and easy knit; it took about 4 evenings to complete.  The project is free on the Spud & Chloe website and uses 3 skeins of Outer.  The yarn is great to work with and the scarf is so soft and squishy!







The final project is one of the Firefly Fibers 4th Quarter Knitalongs!  I had the pleasure of meeting designer Laura Nelkin at TNNA in June and immediately fell in love with her beaded knitting designs.  I selected her recent project Eventide for the shop.  The project uses Audrey by Schaefer Yarn, a silk/merino blend, and incorporates the use of beads and a "cross-stitch" pattern to create this lovely scarf.  This is the current shop sample in progress.  I am just about done with the first half and can't wait to start on the second half so I can use some beads again!


We have Fall yarns arriving at the shop and it is so much fun to see the selections in person!  So many of my customers have been very helpful with fiber and color suggestions, I really appreciate their input.  Now, I just need to find more time to get the yarn on the shelves and to knit up sample projects :)

We are spending time with family today and traveling by car so this means knitting time for me!  Yay!  Let's see how long we can visit so the "to do" list can be put on hold.

Cheers!
Alisa

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I am finishing up the last little bit of the day here at Firefly Fibers
before having a couple days off.  The Labor Day weekend isn't any longer for me since we are closed Monday anyway, but I do get to enjoy spending another day with my hubby and that makes me very happy!  

The new Spud & ChloĆ« Trunk Show arrived yesterday and is on display here at the store.  Seeing the knitted items in person makes me want to cast on another project!  So far I have managed to keep this urge under control since I now have 2 bulging project bags :)
The same cannot be said of my urge to play with the new beads that arrived this last week!  We now have Japanese Miyuki beads and I am in the process of stringing beads on for our next store Knitalong (I will post details soon).  We currently have size 8 and will be ordering size 6 soon!
I am stringing them onto one of the below colors of the amazing Audrey by Schaefer Yarn.  It is a delicious blend of Merino and Silk!  I love it and, again, I will share soon!  

I plan to spend some time relaxing this weekend and, of course, hope to find time to get some serious knitting done and share pictures after the weekend!

Be safe and have a great weekend!
Cheers!
Alisa

Monday, August 30, 2010

3 Months and the Farmer's Market!

Yesterday I realized that it was the 3-month anniversary for Firefly Fibers and I couldn't believe it!  In some ways it seems much longer and in others, much shorter.  I clearly remember our opening day and our first customer, Amy, rushing in to excitedly buy needles.  She is proud that she's our first and I love that!  I have met some amazing people since we opened and I can't wait to get to know everyone better and meet more!

After reading the title of this blog post, you may ask, "What does a 3-month anniversary have to do with the Farmer's Market?"  Well, you see, with all of the work at the store in the spring and summer, we sadly had to give up our garden this year (convincing me of this was a challenge for my husband, but I eventually had to admit defeat).  Don't get me wrong, the trade was well worth the loss of bountiful tomatoes, peppers, greens, and whatever else we would have found at the nursery to plant in our little garden.  I love being at the store and have enjoyed every day I've been there, so do I feel it worked out to my benefit.

This being said, I still crave the fresh foods of summer and was pushed to look for another source to satisfy me this year.  Luckily I had to go no further than the Beaver Dam Farmer's Market!  In about 30 minutes I am there and back with a bounty that makes me drool and so excited to cook.  After unpacking the bags from the trip this last Saturday, I had to take a picture:
Needless to say, my craving for fresh food has been satisfied.  Oh, there was also miniature black raspberry pie but that was long gone before I took the picture :)

So there you have it... A huge thank you to everyone for helping us enjoy 3 months at the store and another thank you to the local farmers for helping me have fresh delicious food this summer!  Thanks for letting me have my cake and eat it too! 

On that note, I'm off to make some tomato soup and borscht and get some knitting done while they are simmering!

Cheers,
Alisa

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's in my project bag?

A more appropriate question may be "What ISN'T in my project bag?"  

After feeling like Mary Poppins at our open knitting session last night, I think it's only appropriate to share on a broader spectrum what I am working on.  As I pulled the items out of my bag today for the photography line-up, it began to occur to me that I have a lot of work to do (and maybe a problem, but I quickly went back into denial). 

Please feel free to laugh at the mess I have gotten myself into, after all, I have had a good chuckle and you should too.  And with that, here we go... 

The first project is Coquille from the current issue of Knitty.  The project is knit in Crystal Palace's Mini Mochi and I am using the Violets Rainbow colorway. 
I love the yarn and pattern!  I'm over halfway done and so excited for this to be on display at our store, Firefly Fibers!
Next up is... The Clapotis!  This is another Knitty pattern and the current Knit Along for our store.  I am using Malabrigo Sock in Solis and modified the pattern slightly to make a thin lightweight scarf.  Lots of fun!
Citron is another project in my bag (I know, this is getting sad) and another Knitty pattern.  Oddly enough, I passed on creativity this time (not sure there was any left) and am using the same yarn and colorway in the pattern, Malabrigo Lace in Lettuce.  The pattern is great and the yarn is spectacular!
This next one is a "do-over" because I thought I knew better than the pattern (I bet you've never thought you knew better than the instructions on something new).  This is the Pashmina Cowl from Last Minute Knitted Gifts knit in Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight.  I am using the color Denim and, again, I love the yarn and the pattern couldn't be easier!
The final work in progress is a simple cowl that I made up on the fly. This is knit with Malabrigo Merino Worsted in the color Deja Vu.
Last, but not least, are the 3 wound balls from the bottom of the bag for projects that haven't been started yet. I am pretty confident that 2 are for crochet projects and I have a couple possibilities for the 3rd.  I will share more when progress is made, hopefully that is after some of the above items go from U.F.O. status to F.O.
So, I am either a fairly optimistic lady or a totally insane yarn addict.  I prefer to think I am the former rather than the latter.  I do have a few more projects started and yarn for new projects stashed in various places at the store and home, but we will pretend for now they don't exist because this really is enough reality for one day.

Cheers!
Alisa

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Firefly Fibers: Open for Business!!!

After months of getting ready to open, we finally did it!!!
 


Our opening day was May 29 and we had so many customers and visitors!  The positive feedback that day had our heads spinning and made it worth all of the time, sweat, and energy we put into our store.  Thank you all SO much!


Since then, it has been 3 weeks... I spent the week after opening finalizing orders, the following week I went to TNNA, and have spent the last week getting caught up.  Whew, that was a lot of work!

Here are a few pictures of the store:



I have really missed working face-to-face with people and having the opportunity to experience so many different personalities.  I enjoy meeting and talking with each and every one of our customers and visitors.  I love when knitters and crocheters come in and we talk yarn, share our current projects, and I get their thoughts on the store.  On the flip side, I love it when passers-by wander in (either intentionally out of curiosity or by accident, and they do wander in by accident) and disappointingly say "Oh, it's just yarn" and start to walk out when something catches their eye and they are here for another 15 minutes "ooo-ing" and "ahhh-ing".

We have had one Open Knitting (now called Sit 'n Stitch) session and it was a lot of fun!  There were flowers (pending re-potting) and lots of chatting and clicking!  As I type, we are getting ready for our second Sit 'n Stitch and I am sure it will be just as much fun, if not more fun.



Thank you to everyone who has come into the store to share in this experience, I look forward to seeing you again.

Cheers and Happy Knitting!
Alisa

Friday, June 18, 2010

TNNA Review

Wow!  I am finally taking a moment to sit down and blog.  It's hard to believe that my last post was April 30th!  Since then, Firefly Fibers has been open for 3 weeks and there are so many stories to tell and pictures to share, but that is for another post in the near future...

Today's post is about my first experience at the TNNA Needle Arts Market June 12-14 in Columbus, Ohio.  For those of you that don't know what TNNA is, here is a quick summary:  The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) is a trade based organization with a conference (yes, a conference for yarn) providing classes and an unbelievable market with all things needle related.  This means, yarn, accessories, more yarn, more accessories, and then more of everything still!  A totally amazing experience!

Columbus, here I come!!!

Wednesday:  I left our store in the care of my husband and was off to Columbus, Ohio.  I spent the evening in Chicago to split the trip up and to visit with a friend that I haven't seen in a very long time (thank you again Nicole).  Of course, I went to bed much too late and had to get up much too early Thursday morning.  

Thursday: After getting up at 3 am and leaving Chicago at 4:30 am, I experienced several events, including, but not limited to: getting in the wrong toll booth lane and stopping traffic (yes, that was me and I am very sorry), having my credit card get stuck in another toll booth and having to talk to the voice in the toll booth machine (?) to get my credit card back (this was a little like ordering at McDonald's), taking 2 wrong turns, and arriving in class to disappointingly realize that Columbus, OH is on Eastern time (I was on time for Central time).  After class was out, I managed to check into the hotel, finally find the parking garage and my way back to the hotel, eat, and call it quits for the day.  Whew, that was a rough day!  I did have a good view from my room:
Friday: I got up early to attend the TIPs sessions. These were quick 30 minute sessions on a variety of topics and they were wonderful!  I attended the retail lunch and sat with some very nice yarn shop owners from Montana.  I had another class in the afternoon and then squeezed in time for some supper and a little bit of time to relax.  In the evening I met up with a new friend (Hi Ellie!) who is a buyer for another company here in town and we attended the 2010 Spring/Summer Fashion Show.  It was fun to see the new trends and comment on them with a fellow fashion lover!  The show was great and I can't wait to get a copy of the dvd!
Saturday: Got up early again to attend a couple sessions and get to the market as soon as they opened the doors at 10 am.  The booths and products were amazing!  There was so much to look at and touch.  I somehow managed to injure my ankle and had to take it easy with the walking the rest of the weekend.  Those of you that know me should not be surprised by the comedy of events over the course of the event, it could have been much worse.  I sadly ended up skipping supper out with Ellie and some others because I was so tired and had an early class that I was determined to be on time for.

Sunday:  More class time in the wee hours of the morning (I was on time).  I took Mosaic Knitting with Melissa Leapman. This was my only technique class and it was so fun and easy that I am developing a class for here at the store to teach the technique.  After class I was off to limp around at the market again and then off to bed early.   

Monday: I was up early and on my way home.  The drive home was, thankfully, uneventful.

Overall, it was a great weekend!  I enjoyed meeting the designers, seeing the new trends, and meeting my vendors face-to-face.  After being at market, we now have new colors in Misti Alpaca Chunky and Spud & Chloe (all weights) in stock.  We also have several other new yarns and accessory items on the way and will update you as they arrive.  Here is one of our new Misti colors, Montego Bay (not yet on the Misti website) and is stunning in person:
TNNA was a wonderful experience that I look forward to again next year, only in more comfortable shoes, with more rest, and fully knowing what to expect.

Cheers and Happy Knitting!
Alisa

Friday, April 30, 2010

This Is Progress!!!

Hi everyone!

We have been making amazing progress!  The painting is done other than the front sitting area and doors (thank you Mike and dad-in-law).  

Here are some pictures of our hard work.

Orders are arriving (that is a lot of yarn):
Shelves are being assembled in record time (thank you Mike and Kevin):
The classroom table is ready to go and chairs will be here soon:
We have beautiful light fixtures:
And shelves are being stocked:
The above picture is our Misti Alpaca Bulky and this was a joy to unpack!  I am a beauty school drop-out (twice) because of not enjoying having hair on me, but somehow being covered in a light coating of baby alpaca is amazingly tolerable. 

We have several order coming in the next week and I can't wait to will fill our shelves with more fibers that are beautiful to the eye and touch!

Cheers!
Alisa

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

IKEA!!!

It has been much too long since I blogged, and for that, I apologize.  I am sure you understand that we have been very busy getting the store ready.  Blogging should be easier now that we are actually seeing things happen as a result of our efforts and that means lots of pictures.  Here is the beginning of what will soon become Firefly Fibers...

Yesterday, we went to IKEA with our two wonderful assistants and purchased so many wonderful things for our yarn shop.
We rented a U-Haul truck and this allowed us to get what we originally went to pick up and also a few extras that we decided on once we arrived at the store.  

All the big stuff went in the moving truck:
We had 2 carts full of smaller items:
It was a long day.  We left Beaver Dam at 8 am, got back about 9 pm, and it was about 10 pm by the time we unloaded everything.

This is our table for classes:
This is our couch for the sitting area (the paint color is pending):
This is our shelving:
As you can see, we have our work cut out for us with assembling everything.  This is the bulk of what we needed for the store so there will be just a few odds and ends after this, hopefully.

I will post about my knitting progress soon (the socks have fallen by the wayside and been temporarily replaces), for now I wanted to share the progress of our store.  I have been knitting,but mostly I have been playing with a lot of yarn so I can make the final selections for the store.

Cheers,
Alisa