Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer is definitely here!

We've had a whirlwind couple of weeks at our house. First, our spontaneous (for us) family road trip to Washington, DC the week of June 10. We visited various monuments/memorials,

Smithsonian museums, including:

The Museum of American History (where Tori totally geeked out at seeing the batarang from the 2008 movie while wearing her Batman shirt!),

The Museum of American Art (where both the kids geeked out because of the Video Game As Art exhibit),

And, I think this one is from the Archives, but I'm not 100% sure..... Still, it's terrible, but it's such extreme propaganda that I couldn't help but laugh.

We rode the Metro a lot,

got rained on,

got sunburned, and even cried a little (both at Arlington National Cemetery, where I didn't take any photos). 

Tori and I visited a wonderful yarn shop in Alexandria, VA called Fibre Space, where I bought some amazing locally dyed yarn. 

On the way home, we spent a day at Cedar Point, riding roller coasters and getting more sunburned. Again, no pictures. This time we were too busy having fun.

All in all, it was an excellent week away. Just what we needed to completely wear ourselves out and feel like we needed a vacation from our vacation. I know you know what I'm talking about!

Then, after a few days of "normal" (whatever that is), I left town to attend TNNA with Elizabeth (who owns River Knits) and Heather (who is the other instructor at River Knits). This year was quite interesting. We didn't go last year, and the difference two years can make (and not make) is amazing. Every year when we go, we see exciting new yarns and patterns, and sometimes even innovative new products. This year was kind of disappointing. In addition to the fact that there wasn't much new stuff to report about, attendance was really low, there were way fewer vendor booths than in the past...... it was kind of sad. But, I think it speaks to the fact that yarn companies and publishers need to re-think their marketing and how to get their product seen by retailers. Clearly, they weren't attending the trade show. My husband says the same thing happened in the computer industry about 10 years ago. In the digital age, there's just not a lot of logic in the old trade show model.  Even with the tactile experience of touching yarns and trying them out, it HAS to be less expensive or at least cost the same for vendors to put together packages of samples to send to yarn shops than it does to go to the trade shows. There is one exception: the classes are amazing, and you can't replicate that experience online.

I took a class called "Fake your way to Fair Isle." We dyed knitted blanks using Greener Shades Dyes. It was so fun, there aren't even words!

Undyed blank:

Dyed Blank:

After steaming:

Another set, after steaming (I'm using these together for Fair Isle Mittens):

And what trip to Columbus, OH would be complete without a visit to Schmidt's?!?!?!

And now, we're all caught up! That's what I've been doing the last two weeks. I can't wait to do more dyeing. I've purchased dyes, and Elizabeth has ordered me a knitting machine so I can make tons of blanks and dye my little heart out. I can't wait! I'm sure you'll get to see lots of pics of that in the future.

What have you been up to this summer?

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