Ellen's thoughts, plans, schemes for K2TOG

Social Networking Hits K2TOG (and Ellen) in the Face(book)

Today's exercise has been getting K2TOG's blogs to connect to Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn, etc. This all started because Kimberly and I had 15 minutes yesterday to chat. This is always dangerous. It turns out (hopefully) to be within my skill set for you to now see updates to my blog on the K2TOG facebook page. More will be revealed as I turn myself into a writer.

Earth Day 2011

On April 22, we will be celebrating Earth Day, which began in 1970. My first memory of Earth Day involves creating a poster that was put up on the wall of my elementary school auditorium. I can still remember my poster, of which I was so proud. It contained three sections: past: a beautiful tree; present: tree with trash all around it; and future: an empty, barren space.

As I think about Earth Day, I can't help but picture in my mind's eye the beautiful photo of the earth from space. I have difficulty imagining not having that image. I guess that feeling is similar to my children not being able to imagine not having internet access.

I struggle every year with the sense that I'm not doing enough for our wonderful earth. I like to buy things. I have a car that I love to drive. I own a business that sells things, gets shipments, creates waste. I can't see myself giving up all these things I love, so what can I do?

I am trying to shop wisely, both for myself and for the shop. I work to reuse, reduce and recycle wherever I can. I think that one thing I can do is turn off more things, including my computers. I can ride my bicycle and walk to do more of my shopping.

Do you have any suggestions for me? I'd love to hear them.

Exciting (and exhausting) Times Ahead

I've finally signed on the dotted line and we are officially moving to 1325 Solano Ave!! I'm incredibly excited and already exhausted thinking about moving the shop just 4 blocks up the street.

The new space is 2/3 bigger than the current shop, so there will be lots of space for new yarns and a much less crowded classroom. The space has interior rooms, so I'm thinking about different ways to arrange the yarns, needles, notions, etc. If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

For those of you who have the time and inclination, I'm recruiting for move help. We're packing and moving May 27-31, so if you are interested, stop in the shop and talk with me. I promise a good time will be had by all as we pack and unpack.

At this point, I'm just continuing to remind myself that moving is a really good thing and the new shop will be great!

So many things to do - where is the time?

I'm learning to think 6 months to a year out into the future - something that isn't really natural to me. That means that while I am knitting samples for the Retreat in April, I have been talking with our NEW travel agent, Deborah Kropp, about the Knitting Cruise in the Fall (October 2-8).

I am so excited about the number of group activities that are on the K2TOG calendar. It's amazing to me that we have something going on every day of the week now! So all we have to do is figure out how to plan for the arrival of our spring/summer yarn shipments which will be starting in the next week or so. I anticipate we may be up to our knees in yarn before the end of February, an exciting and overwhelming thought - as in what in the world will we do with all of it?!

Now that the 1230 Solano shop is running itself, I'm shifting some of my attention to the web store. I have learned that it's necessary for me to think of the web store as a separate entity that needs it's own attention from me so I will be spending a day a week at the 'new' store.

Jeremy, our stealth employee, is working on taking photos of the yarn, getting the color as accurate as possible. He continues to work on improving your experience of shopping online with us. Please give us feedback about your experience with our website. Email us at comments @ k2togonline.com

There really is so much to do and so little time!

Karen is Really King!

Check out this great article about our own Karen King. She has been working out at the Ice Chamber here in Albany for a year now and is an inspiration to us all.

January TNNA Trip

Karen King and I are just back from TNNA (The National Needlarts Association) Tradeshow which was in Long Beach, California January 9-12. We flew down on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday evening, giving us about 36 hours of concentrated shopping for K2TOG.

So what did we find?

We found a new organic cotton line from Ecobutterfly, a company that matches beautifully to the K2TOG mission. These beautiful, organic, natural cotton yarns will be a treat to knit this summer. Baby blankets are a 'natural' project, and I am already planning to knit several sleeveless tops for summer wear from the lace weight yarn.

Natural cotton colors are white, brown and green and vary in depth of color. White cotton is more available and therefore costs less than the beautiful dark brown and deep green colors. We will carry a variety of colors in each of the weights that are available.

On another track, we went to TNNA to find a new line of handpaint yarns to carry in the shop. Our criteria included fibers, quality, beauty, affordability and environmental footprint. After looking at 11 lines at the show, we decided to carry Claudia Hand Painted Yarns. I met Claudia, the owner, dyer and designer of these beautiful yarns and she is a real treat. The yarns come in silk, linen, cotton and wool and in different weights. The colorways are spectacular - we chose 24 different colorways in the lace-weight 100% silk. I will be knitting something using a strand of lace-weight silk with a strand of lace-weight linen for the summer. I'm going to use 2 different colorways combined, which should produce an entirely different, beautiful fabric. These yarns will be arriving in mid to late March.

A third line of yarns we will be carrying is Hand Jive Yarns, a natural-dyed line created by Darlene Hayes. These beautiful yarns have subtle coloration and a great feel.

As I was standing in line to get a beautiful new book signed (that's another story) I was chatting with several shop owners. One was a yarn store owner in Southern California, the other a needlepoint shop in Arizona. From that conversation and based on my description of my wonderful Berkeley customers, the Arizona shop owner suggested that I check out the booth of a young woman from Hong Kong that made 'fascinating and unique' yarns. I couldn't resist that description, so before lunch (and I was starving, though Karen was doing okay - she ate breakfast, I didn't) we found Knit Collage. The yarn is like nothing I've seen! It's super chunky wool with 'stuff' spun in. The stuff includes ribbon, crochet flowers and fruit, mohair ... (the list goes on and on). Take a few moments to read the about us link. The yarn is spun by local women who wouldn't have a job otherwise. Evidence that knitting will change the world!

But Wait - there's more!

We are adding more bone and wood buttons from Nepal, wooden swifts from Sweden (guaranteed for many years), new color knit kits, and LOTS more books! We spent 2 hours on Sunday morning putting together orders for books from Interweave Press and Unicorn Books. I can't even remember all of the titles we will receive. That will have to be another blog entry.

That's a short description of our whirlwind tour of TNNA. We got a lot done and I hope you will find something that inspires your creativity this spring and summer.

Happy Birthday to K2TOG!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the shop on July 5th. We had more than 75 people stop by and wish us a happy birthday. I hope everyone who received a birthday bag enjoyed it's contents.

Kristen Hanley-Cardozo took pictures of people with their projects that they made recently. Thanks to everyone who brought in their projects to show off.