TNNA Review

This past weekend, I made the trip out to Indianapolis for TNNA show. TNNA is always exhausting but fun and productive, since it’s specifically geared towards the vendors, yarn companies, designers, and other professionals in the field, rather than a retail marketplace.

Instead of giving a day-to-day recap of the event, just because SO MANY THINGS happened in the 2.5 days I stayed, and I am sure other people would write about it so much on their blogs, I decided to do reviews of some vendors and other people I’ve met at the show.

LadyDyeYarns. Boston, MA.

5 years ago, Boston became a special place for me. My then boyfriend/now husband went to a bar association convention in Boston, spent 4 days before I found out that I passed the CA bar!! So whenever I meet people from Boston area, I’m excited!

Well, that is not the only reason why I was excited to finally meet Lady Diane from LadyDye I’ve been following (stalking) her on Twitter and Instagram for about a couple of weeks before the show, oagling at all her beautifully crafted yarns. As a designer, sometimes I am drawn to the texture, sometimes colors, sometimes the construction of the yarn. It really depends on what strikes me at the moment. When I first saw a photo of LadyDye’s yarn on Instagram, without even knowing any background of her company or what she does, I immediately thought of spray paint cans.

Which totally made sense after I found out that she does a lot of yarn bombing and street arts in general. I have been doing a lot of classic, simplistic style for my designs ever since I started designing, and I’ve been feeling that I should do at least one design that is totally out of my comfort zone. Neon colors? Unconventional shaping? Non-garment projects?

That’s why I have a new design coming up in Holla Knits Home collection. I have never much home accessories before and thought I had to give it at least one try.

HOLLA KNITS

Which brings me to Holla Knits. I loved the process of designing and knitting something I’ve never done. Home accessories, I thought, hey, it’ll be simple. It’s not like it has to FIT anyone. But then I realized I had that much more room to be more creative, and try something NEW. Stay tuned, because I definitely tried something that I have never ever done, even in my own personal knitting time. Anyways, on Sunday, some of the designers who designed for Holla Knits got together for breakfast.

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(see more pics on my Instagram!)
There is DEFINITELY more I want to share about TNNA but I think they deserve their own posts. So COMING SOON. :)

Overall, this was the most fun I had at TNNA and I’m sure it’ll just get better and better every year. I was so tired, between the time difference and my crazy schedule the week before leading up to TNNA, so when I came back to California, all I could do was sleep.

I am totally impressed with people who already blogged about TNNA recap already.

Vancouver recap

Vancouver!

My husband and I traveled to Vancouver, BC for his birthday! We had so much fun, and doggies, especially Candy, had a marvelous time themselves at their boarding places.

<Day 1>
Headed for the John Wayne airport by 5am for our 7:30am flight. Got on the plane and then was held up at the gate for 2 hours due to a mechanical problem which turned out to be nothing. Missed our connecting flight by 3 minutes because the SFO gate agent closed the door earlier. Was on Standby for the next flight and luckily got on it.
Arrived in Vancouver. Vancouver Airport was probably the most beautiful airport I have ever seen. There were waterfalls, totem poles, and trees. Took the Canada Line Skytrain to Downtown Vancouver. We stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel on Burrard street but didn’t want to change station so we got off at the City Centre (note: Marty and I kept making fool out of ourselves saying “hey they spelled ____ wrong!”) and just walked over to the hotel via Robson.

The rest of the day was a smooth sailing. The very first thing we did was to get a hot dog at the Japadog stand, which was RIGHT in front of our hotel. Literally, same block. It was amazing. (NOTE: during this trip, I decided to try eating gluten again. I took Pepcid AC religiously to control any kind of stomach symptoms I might get. Other than some bloating issue and exhaustion, I didn’t feel sick! But yes, now I’m fully back on gluten free mode again).

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We found some great restaurants on Robson, walked to the Pacific Centre shopping mall and looked around, took some pictures of the scenery, bought some snacks at London Drugs, then walked over to the west sideof the Robson for some Asian food.

We were originallly looking for Benkei Ramen but I guess it’s gone now because we couldn’t find it. Instead, we found Dinesty Chinese Restaurant, which from the outside reminded us of Din Tai Fung in Taiwan. We weren’t disappointed. Well, I was–because I realized how much fun I have been missing out, having to be on a gluten free diet! :D

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We were pretty exhausted after dinner so we just walked back to the hotel and immediately fell asleep. I for one had an amazing night of sleep, I slept through the night, and woke up aroung 6:30am without the alarm.

 

<Day 2>
We woke up pretty early around 6:30, slowly got ready for a day of fun. We decided to stay at the West Side of the city, and check out Granville Island.

After we got coffee at Cafe Artiggiano, we got some chocolate cake and liquid chocolate at Thierry’s, then we walked on Burrard and Hornby towards the Island, took the Aquabus to the Grandville Island ($5.50 per person for a roundtrip).

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We looked aroundn the Public Market, then slowly walked over to the Kitsilano Beach area which was a beautiful walk! We passed by the Marine Museum, and took so many photos there. It was a relaxing walk and seeing so many dogs around the beach neighborhood made us miss Candy & Bagel. But we knew they were being taken care of–Bagel is loved by everyone at the animal hospital and we know that Candy was having an awesome time at the Bone Adventure because we were watching her on the webcam every few hours. :D

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We walked around the Kits Beach neighborhood, then walked back to the Island. We had lunch at Go Fish. I got 2 cods & chips, while Marty tried their Oyster Poboy. The ordering was pretty quick but the wait for the food was about 30~40 minutes. But it was worth the wait! Totally recommend that place if anyone is going to hang out near the Grandville Island.

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The Island itself was fun too–we looked at so many cool arts and crafts, I even bought some silk rovings from the Silk Weaving Studio.

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We came back to the hotel and got dinner at Sushi Mart and a Belgian waffle at Nero on Robson (Again, this area on Robson had so many good Asian food choices).

Marty fell asleep around 10, but I stayed up until 1AM to work on my lace shawl. Totally failed to finish it on the trip, but will be available soon! :D

<Day 3>:
We woke up again around 7 am. The plan was to check out Chinatown and Gastown, and Yaletown. We took the train to the Science Centre-Main Street station (The Skytrain doesn’t stop there anymore; you have to take Train2Main or something like that). I thought we were gonna walk on Main all the way to Chinatown from there, but Marty just wanted to take pictures of the Pacific Centre Station. So we walked around there for 5 minutes, then took the same train back to Waterfront.

We had our morning coffee at Revolver in Gastown, walked to Sun Yat-Sen Garden, looked around there, walked through Chinatown and randomly walked into the busiest Chinese food cafe called “Newtown” to get some buns, egg tart, and sesame ball. DELISH! I think the food here is better than in LA. Food in LA, even at really good restaurants, food tastes “cheap” compared to food in Vancouver. The LA food tastes like Costco food!!!

Then we walked back to Gastown, stopped at a restaurant called Tuc, and got some beautiful waffles with blueberries and cream cheese. Marty got a Lamb & Egg skillet which he said was great.

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So this is how crazy Vancouver food is. When Marty has good food, he says “it’s not bad,” tilts his head to one side and nods a couple times. During our past 7 years together, Marty only had GREAT food maybe 10 times total. When he has really great food, he would first close his eyes then breathes in deeply as if he just had a heart attack. On this trip, he did that twice. Once at Dinesty, and then again at Tuc. At other places, he still said the food was really good. Never once he has said, “not bad” and nodded twice.DSC05087

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We walked back to the Waterfront Station and decided to walk to Stanley Park. We overestimated our fitness level and underestimated the size of this “PARK” because everything else in Vancouver was so close. We barely made it to the Totem Pole, turned around for “The Girl in Wet Suit” or something, took the pedestrian trail back to the info center. FAIL.

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But on the way back from Stanley Park back to the hotel was a great one. The weather was perfect and the cherry blossom trees were everywhere. This was exactly why we took the trip to Vancouver, and were worried about the bad weather but it was perfect all 2.5 days!

It has been a week since we got back and we’re still talking about how great the food was and how much we wanna visit again (a bit of honesty here, we actually looked into moving there!).

NEW: Snowflake Shawl

 

 

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As promised yesterday, I just released this new shawl/cape pattern on Ravelry and Craftsy.

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Last year, I really wanted to design a cool cape design that still embodies the inspiration I got from Downton Abbey. Plus, California was uncharacteristically cold and wet; perhaps I was up earlier than most people going to work at 3 am.

I sketched and drafted this pattern on the metrolink, while commuting to work. I knitted a prototype/test sample in aran weight yarn but was not happy with the yarn choice or the finished product. I knew I wanted the general design to be still feminine and romantic but wanted the fabric to be slightly more dense and heavier.

Up close and personal:

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C’mon. I know that you have this yarn somewhere in your stash!

It’s none other than Bernat Natural Alpaca Blend in Natural. I know, an acrylic blend? I knew that if I wore this outside, I would get it dirty somehow. I also wanted it to be easily washed in the washing machine. Then I added a laceweight mohair/acrylic blend yarn from Universal Yarns, and held the two yarns together for this marled effect.

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I also re-did the collar 3 times in the first prototype to get it right. At first, I wanted it to be asymmetric and with a button closure. It didn’t fit right.

So I frogged and did it in 1×1 rib but it didn’t look right either. It was kind of soft and drapey, which didn’t look right with the look I was going for in my head.

I made the collar in double thickness, so that it will stand right and hold the overall heavy/dense look.

Now, I didn’t really know what to call this. I had a choice between a CAPE and a Shawl, and went with a Shawl since I wanted it to be something you just grab and throw on for a quick walk with your doggies or a lunch date. SHAWL with a COLLAR. =)

So there you go people. I published this pattern on Ravelry as well as Craftsy.

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Craftsy, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

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Ravelry, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

back from TNNA (recap soon/just not now)

No photos yet (they’re on my new Sony Nex!) but I just wanted to report that I’m back in California in one piece.

Last day was totally hectic. I had to go to a class at 8, which ended at 9. Had a short break time, knitting with Teresa (of CanarySanctuary), Allyson (of HollaKnits & The Sweatshop of Love), Andrea (of Andrea Knit Design) and Amy (of Knitscene). Then off to meet with a vendor who wanted to have a short interview with me for their website.

And then the vendor gave me a lot of yarn samples for yarn support which was great, but I only had a small bag.. and so I had to frantically find a box to mail a package from the hotel! And then it was time to leave already. :(  I had missed the lunch gathering with designers.

Next time, definitely going to stay until Monday!

Here I am in Columbus, Ohio!

i woke up at 4 this morning and headed to the airport! my DH was able to give me a ride before his yoga class so I was glad i spent that extra bucks to be able to fly from Orange County.

4 may sound super early for most people but not to yours truly. This actually meant that i was able to sleep an extra hour haha. My DH however, was not amused, and neither was Bagel.

Anyhow, im really looking forward to the rest of the weekend, as this is my first time in Ohio!!!

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Back from TNNA

I think I can still say that I’m “back from” TNNA although it was just 30 minutes away from my home in Irvine.

Nevertheless, I’m back from TNNA and I had so much fun, I don’t even know where to begin.

I was only at the show on Saturday and Sunday, and just few hours at a time. The fact that I brought my camera AND my smartphone and still didn’t get any pictures of TNNA just shows how overwhelmed and excited I was the entire time.

I met with Anne (aka CraftyDiversions) outside and she showed me around briefly. I hung out with her and her friends, met Pam (aka PamPowers).. And then started walking around the floor.. Met and spoke with Erika Knight, saw Norah Gaughan, met with local AND domestic/international dyers and yarn manufacturers, retailers.. My brain was about to explode with excitement when I saw gorgeous silk rovings and yarn at Vijay Fibers’ booth. I was super excited about meeting and dining with Bonne Marie Burns from Chic Knits.  I made her Basic Pulli before and my version is actually shown on her pattern page!

On Sunday, I finally met Felicia Lo from SweetGeorgia–I took her Craftsy.com class and fell in love with spinning. She didn’t have any rovings at the booth but I did see her new colors…

Another bonus was that spinning wheel companies were there too–Louet, Ashford, and Schacht. And I’m so glad I got to see the wheels in person because I’ve been getting enticed with this idea that I wanted a smaller wheel for traveling so I was considering Louet Victoria and Ashford Joy and Schacht Sidekick. They looked SUPER tiny! Especially Victoria. Now that I have a better idea of what they look like in person, I might wait a bit more and actually try some of the wheels before making the decision. Perhaps I should call up that spinning/weaving shop and see if I could rent these for a month or so.  In the meantime, I started a savings account towards a Matchless. =P

Now that I’m back to work and to the normal routine again, I am super inspired. I might need to put out another call for test/sample knitters soon…