Fun Stuff

TNNA Report Roundup

Although I didn’t attend The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) trade show in Columbus, OH, I’ve really enjoyed reading trip reports from the talented professionals who were there. Here are a few blogs where you can learn more about the event:

P.S. I’m so jealous about all the people who got to have Jeni’s Ice Cream. I’ve never tried it, but they have a bunch of locations now.

P.P.S. It looks like the 2016 TNNA summer show will be in Washington, D.C.

Fun Stuff, Yarns

New Orleans

The husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary this year with a cruise out of the Port of New Orleans. Neither of us had been to NOLA before, so we specifically chose this cruise so we could spend a couple of days there prior to setting sail. We stayed quite close to the French Quarter and focused most of our time in that area since our stay was short.

Naturally, the trip included a crafty shopping component. In the spirit of keeping things relevant around here, I’ll cut to the chase and deliver the yarn store goods first. Then, if you’re interested, stick around for some other trip highlights. 🙂


The Quarter Stitch on Chartres St. is lovely, with a selection that’s broad without being overwhelming. There was definitely a “community” vibe when I was in the store – the staff was very friendly, stepping in to offer customers advice on patterns and chatting about the merits of different fibers with customers. Overall, a very pleasant experience.


I picked up a skein as a souvenir of the trip. I just love it when yarn stores pack your purchases in fancy wrapping. Here’s mine, on the ledge of our hotel window.


I’m a big believer in the importance of providing a unique and memorable customer experience. There’s a lot of competition in the market, and seemingly small gestures can turn a relatively ordinary experience (making a purchase) into something special. Ribbons? Tissue paper? Heart-shaped confetti and an adorable tag? My yarn purchase is still stored in this wrapping, in fact, and you can bet I’ll remember the store when I’m ready to use it.

And here’s my yarn – a skein of my beloved Blue Heron Rayon Metallic.


I picked the Mossy Place colorway because of its fun and festive shades – a reminder of the vibrant character of the city. I also had my eye on the Tapestry colorway, but ultimately couldn’t resist this one.


Gorgeous as always – I just love this yarn and save it for really special projects. (I just finished my Gail shawl in Turquoise – it’s blocked and drying as I type!)


Although our stay was short, we discovered that there really is something for everyone who visits. And, apparently, anyone who is in the market for real estate. Whatever your stance on the supernatural, there’s a property for you. (Budget allowing, of course. 😉 )


Food & Drink

One of the first orders of business was to check out the infamous Bourbon Street. The Pat O’Brien’s location on Bourbon Street has a beautiful courtyard – a welcome oasis after traveling. Hurricanes and mint juleps all around. Speaking of unique customer experiences – they wash out your glass for you, box it up and let you take it home as a souvenir. Again, small gestures make a difference.


We ate dinner at Mother’s one evening, which is something of a New Orleans institution. It’s not cheap, but they do make a great po’ boy.


Rounding out our tourist-heavy food & drink itinerary is the obligatory CafĂŠ du Monde pilgrimage. We stood in an impressively long line at the “to go” window, to avoid an even more daunting line for those wanting to eat “inside” the airy structure. There were some areas to sit behind the French Market, and so we grabbed our beignets and coffee and sat in the relative peace and quiet to enjoy. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s a long wait. But we weren’t about to visit NOLA for the first time without doing it.



We also made our visit a cultural one, stopping at two Louisiana State Museum sites in Jackson Square: The Cabildo (pictured below – and note the jazz musicians playing on the nearby balcony) and The Presbytère. The latter is home to a compelling Katrina exhibit with multimedia displays and artifacts, plus a Mardi Gras exhibit that includes many costumes, parade float components and other treasures.


Jackson Square is so pretty, and look! Thanks to a combination of luck and a sudden, short burst of rain that cleared the area, I got the iconic Jackson Square photo without a ton of (other) tourists in it. I know everyone takes a photo from this spot, but it’s still by far my favorite one from the trip. 🙂


We peeked inside Saint Louis Cathedral while we were there, too.


One of our last stops was Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1. It was quite a hike to get here from our hotel. I’d done a bit of reading about the cemetery before our trip, so we saw most of the highlights (including Nicholas Cage’s pyramid tomb…). If we’d had a bit more time, I think we might have benefitted from a guided tour.


So there you have it – our short and sweet trip. Have you been to New Orleans, and if so, what were the highlights of your trip?

Fun Stuff, Yarns

Weekend Update

“What is a weekend?” Oh Dowager Countess, how I love your quips. I hope your own weekend is going well! Mine is going splendidly.

Today I went on a little shopping spree. My first stop was Knit Picks. I swear I do not work for them – I’m just a fan. 🙂 Anyway, they’re having a pretty fun and fantastic sale. Lots of their orange and black (random aside: any Orange is the New Black fans?) yarns are on sale. I scored a few skeins of a yarn I have been wanting for 40% off. Procrastination paid off, and my stash runneth over.

I also took the opportunity to pick up a skein of the new Curio crochet thread. Has anyone tried this yet? There are some fun colors – I chose Victorian. Pictures to come.

Next, my grandma and I hit the town to check out a local yarn shop I haven’t been to yet. It was great, and full of ladies working on projects and chatting. Can’t wait to visit again!

After an amazing lunch (buffalo chicken mac and cheese so good it should be illegal), we checked out a consignment shop. I scored a serving tray that came with a folding stand, which will be perfect as a portable work surface. It was $6. Six. Dollars. Can’t beat that. I think I’ll paint it, but I haven’t decided yet.

What have you been up to?

Fun Stuff

St. Louis Road Trip

I have been patiently waiting to visit the display for the contest that I entered. Entrants get to attend a special preview of the contest exhibit before it opens to the general public. I’m so excited to see all of the entries and get more ideas for future projects. (As if I need any – my Ravelry queue and favorited patterns list are out of control.) And, of course, I’m looking forward to seeing my own projects on display. The organizers do a great job of arranging the entries – they make even my little old FOs look special. 🙂

Lately, I have been busy with… life. In the midst of the transitions (all good ones!), the husband and I managed to sneak in a quick getaway to St. Louis. He had certain attractions on his wish list, which I was happy to accommodate in exchange for a visit to one of mine:


For fiber crafters, Knitorious is a magical place. I found it through a quick Internet search for a yarn shop to visit while on our trip. It is located in a cute neighborhood that’s comprised of a friendly mix of residences and small restaurants/shops. The charming area, which is full of nicely maintained brick buildings, is fun to drive through even if you don’t have a specific destination in mind.


I went in with no agenda – my only consideration was that I don’t have access to very many nice, finer-than-worsted fibers locally. From the moment I walked in, I couldn’t believe the level of service that this place provides. From yarn and pattern-selection help for beginners, to advanced-technique classes, this place has you covered. I took my time while shopping, and was pleased that the women working here were extremely helpful without being pushy or making me feel rushed. They were quick to point out knitted samples of the yarns that I was considering, which I appreciated. And, their clearance section is absolutely incredible. Lots of bargains to be had if you aren’t shopping for anything in particular.


My haul:


More on these when I figure out what to do with them. One of the women in the shop pointed out that stash yarn purchases, much like calories, don’t count when you’re on vacation. I’m so glad that my husband was within earshot at that point. 😉

Also on the agenda: the Missouri Botanical Garden. This is easily one of the most beautiful botanical collections/facilities that I have ever seen, and that is saying something. (I make a point to visit places like it wherever I go.) We spent several hours there, and didn’t even get close to seeing/properly appreciating everything that it has to offer. I felt like we could have easily spent another entire day there. In short: GO.

botanical garden

The visit gave me the opportunity to enjoy another of my favorite vacation activities: taking closeup pictures of flowers. It is mystifyingly entertaining to me.


lily pad inspiration photo


botanical garden

Of Flowers.

botanical garden

We also did some of the other usual suspects, including: The Gateway Arch

gateway arch

The Old Courthouse

old courthouse

The Cathedral Basilica


And a brewery tour.

brewery tour

All thoroughly enjoyable. Our only regret is that the Cardinals weren’t in town. Next time!