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Friday, January 29, 2010

My first weekend at home

I can't tell you how happy I am to be at home during this weekend. It is the end of the first week of school. This means that the next week all of us - students and instructors will get into the normal routine and things will calm down. No more students begging to add the class that is overflowing as it is and no more talking about the policy of the class (I honestly hate to do this). It also means that I can relax a little when I get home. Even with the stress at work I was working on submissions to some magazines, books, and other places. I also was working on some ideas for my own line of patterns. I have some patterns waiting for me to write as well. On the photo you can see my "disaster area" in the family room that I never fail to reproduce every time I am swatching different stitch patterns from many different yarns. My cat is usually sleeping right next to me on that sofa which shows how old she is now. The yarn used to drive her crazy and I was not able to work with her in the room. But now she does not care unless it is right in her face. All the books you see are the collections of stitch patterns. Once I decide that I like the combination of stitches I swatched (that could take days), I make a sketch of the design that incorporates this combination. Sometimes a swatch changes my original plan and I go with my inspiration from that swatch. Talking to different designers about their creative process or inspirations, I see that for the same person each design started in a different way. I definitely feel that way. Although it is a lot of work to finalize your decision on how you propose a design for a publication, I love this part of the design process.
I will give an example using my Dolce Slouch submission. This is my swatch for this hat. And later I drew this picture ( I admit, I am no artist, but I can bring the point across.) By the way, this is a free pattern on the Cascade website. I was told that this hat is very popular and many people are downloading it.

If you read the interviews on my Designer's Studio blog, you will learn about many designers and the ways they come up with their beautiful designs. The next guest will be there soon. I hope you will come back to read it.
Now, I am off to swatch more out of wonderful yarns that I brought from TNNA. I can't wait to get to knit or crochet with it. I promise to show you the yarns in my next post.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More on TNNA

As I said, it is very hard to describe everything that happened at TNNA in one try. It's just too many things are happening in one weekend. People come there with different expectations and different experiences. I, honestly, do not put my stakes too high up. I want to enjoy it as much as I can and as a result, I do. I think about it as window shopping and getting to know people and companies of this industry.
Last year I paired up with Simona Merchant-Dest, a wonderful and classy designer whose work you find in Vogue, Interweave Knits, Interweave crochet, Knit n' Style, and other places. We liked it very much and did the same this time. I also met Marlaina (Marly) Bird for the first time face-to-face. We knew each other in cyberspace :), but never met before. Marly is a very interesting designer and incredibly productive. It is hard to name all the places where her designs are published for only a year and a half since she started to publish. Marly is not new to knitting and crocheting. She just did not get around to publishing before. She has a very well-known podcast called the Yarn Thing. So, check her website and you will know more about Marly. All three of us got the feeling we knew each other forever. So, here we are: Simona, Marly, and I. As we were walking the show, we saw and met many people. One of them was Tanis Gray, who used to work for Vogue Knitting magazine. She is designing herself now and enjoying what she does. You can see Tanis in the middle on this photo. It was not just for the photo that we smiled. It seems like we did not stop all day. People are very friendly and act like they know you for ages. I do not have photographs, but I have met VĂ©ronik Avery, Melissa Leapman, Cat Bordhi, Kristin Omdahl, and many other designers.
I also took three classes. I like to do that to see other people's teaching style. They are all so different. One class was taught by Gwen Brothers, the other one by famous Cat Bordhi, and the third one by even more famous Lily Chin. Every class was different and all of these people are very good teachers. After my last class with Lily Chin was over, I remembered that I had my camera with me all the time. So, I am sorry that I did not take pictures of other teachers, but I did ask Lily and this is her idea for the pose:) She is great!
I also asked her, Cat, and many other people to participate in my Designer's Studio project. They all loved the idea and are ready to give me their interviews, so keep in tune for that.
Talking about having my camera with me and not taking pictures... I was not thinking most of the time about it (not very me, if you know me well). I stayed in the same hotel with the Ravelry crew. I have met them the day before and was checking out in the morning. Here they were in the lobby of the hotel. I came up to them and talked a little bit. After I left, I immediately thought: that could be the cutest picture of them. Jess and Mary-Heather were sitting on each side of the sofa, Casey was across them in an arm-chair, and Sarah on the other side in a chair. Each one had a blackberry or phone in their hands and they were so involved and cozy, that I still have this image in my head. Well, I missed the opportunity.
I did not tell you everything what went on, but it is time to do some knitting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

50% of the sales for my patterns go to Haiti

From January 16 to January 31, 2010, I am donating 50% of the sales from two of my best selling patterns to Doctors Without Borders. You can purchase these patterns here.
There is a big group of designers on that offers help through the sales of their patterns. Visit that page and help us to make a donation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All Jazzed Up From TNNA

I just got back home from TNNA. What an exciting place that is! I saw new books and got 3 signed to me by the author. This one called Personal Footprints is by Cat Bordhi. The second Knitting Tips & Tricks is by Lily Chin.
I also took classes from both of them this time. And the third book called Knitwear Design Workshop is by Shirley Paden-Bernstein. All three books are wonderful and useful in their own way. I know I will enjoy them very much. There are some other books and magazines that came home with me. I am so glad that I am still on a break from school, so I will have time to enjoy them.

I realize that you have to love the colorful yarns and incredible patterns to appreciate what I am describing. I know my readers do, so I can go on and on about it. The show was in very sunny and warm Long Beach, CA. It was 77 degrees when most of the country was shivering from cold. It was great. My hotel was about 10 min away from the convention center. One morning my friend, who owns a very cute shop in Manzanita, OR called T-spot, and I were walking to the show. A man passed us by and asked:"So, what convention are you attending?" "TNNA", we said. He was puzzled,"What is it?" We explained to him that it is called The National NeedleArts Association. He smiled and said, "Boy, I am sorry I missed this one..." I guess for some people it is funny that there is a big convention for such thing as needle crafts. But if you really know something about it, it is a very big industry that includes yarn companies, shops, publishing houses, designers and many companies that provide tools and gadgets. At this convention they all come together and it is awesome to see it all.

I will have to write about it in small portions. I am sorry about it, but I am very excited right now and I need to calm down, so I can collect my thoughts. I also have to work on two submissions and I have a deadline for a project, so I better do that.
I promise to tell you more soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Very Happy 2010 to all!!

I hope you are having a wonderful 2010 so far. We all wish for the healthy, peaceful and prosperous year, so be it. I do not make resolutions for the coming year, but I always hope that the new one will be different in a very good way. Much happiness to  all of you!
I had a perfect transition from 2009 to 2010 this time. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Miami Fl, got on a ship to cruise Eastern Caribbean for 7 days and by the New Year Eve we were at our friends place raising our glasses and looking at the fireworks on the beach. I have tons of photos, but, sorry, no time right now. Tomorrow I am leaving for TNNA in Long Beach CA. I am very excited to go there to see many friends and to make new ones. I will see new knitting books, yarns, tools, and many unexpected things, I am sure. So, wish me luck and I will share my photos with all of you later.