Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Summit - Continued

I think I left out a bunch of stuff in my last post, so I decided to bore you further with some more details about my fun and games before, during, and after the show.

Most of you know that I'm barely able to walk most days, so first, I want to give big thanks and hugs to my beloved Hubster and my booth mate, Kate of Spindle Cat Studio, for not only setting up my booth, but also for all the help they provided during the show. I couldn't have done it without you guys (especially when we got really busy). I sat on my little folding chair while you guys wrote up orders, helped customers, and did the myriad chores that come along with doing a show. Don't get me wrong - I didn't just sit on my ass looking gorgeous uh... fat and dumpy... but there's no way in hell it was a one-woman operation.

That done... on to the dish.

It was absolutely amazing to me the number of people who knew who I was. To be sure, I kind of stand out in a crowd, but I was still floored by how many people came up to me and greeted me by name or told me that they were looking forward to meeting me in person. Talk about an ego booster! Then there were all the lovely people who read my blog and wanted to meet me, foul mouth and all. I was able to get up and walk around two or three times, and it was then that I met even more wonderful people. I would stand in front of a booth, wait until they looked up, and then watch the recognition dawn in their eyes. Lots of hugs, some crying, and people whom I've considered family for years. Too good.

I may have said it before, but a lot of vendors were complaining about the number of customers who came through the marketplace. We had heard numbers ranging from 6,000 to over 10,000, so I think many of us packed accordingly. I know that I brought way too many goods for the estimated numbers, but I would rather have too much than not enough. There were vendors whose booths were almost empty and others whose booths were bursting at the seams with items for sale. I also saw a lot of shoppers with no bags or goodies (other than the freebies) just walking around. I know that none of the people who put this thing together even know who I am, but I want to put in a good word for all of them. They accomplished an incredible feat - from getting all the teachers togethers (all that talent in one room!), to giving the vendors a place to shine, to offering goods not usually seen. This being my first show, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was delighted with it. I even had the Yarn Harlot open the door and hold it open for me as I lurched forward into the room. I didn't know what to say, so I blurted out, "You're the Yarn Harlot", to which she replied, "So I've been told!". I loved it so much, in fact, that...

In a minute.

The couple of times I did get up, I managed to do a fair amount of damage (so it's a good thing that I couldn't get out more). I got a set (sizes 1 to 5) of Signature Needle Arts DPN's (even though I now use Hiya Hiya 9" circs as much as possible) because I've been drooling over them since they came out, and some incredible yarn from a couple of vendors (as usual, I can't remember who the hell I bought it all from). Then there was the mysterious skein of yarn waiting for me from Berocco when I returned. They specifically asked the lovely lady helping out in my booth to make sure that I got it. I'm not sure what they want me to do with it - whether they want me to try it out or just to see it - but it was a honor for me to receive it. It's absolutely lovely - beautiful colors, easy to knit, plenty of yardage - and I've got a pair of socks slated for it. I've got some other socks I have to do first, but they're in the queue.

So that was my experience at the show, and I hope that when/if we make it to Stitches West, it will be as much fun.

Back to home matters...

I intimated last post that I was getting another tattoo. I had no idea of where to look for an artist out here (it's amazing how many artists there are in LA), so I wound up on Yelp looking for recommendations. I found a place called Studio City Tattoo and, as usual, we were late, but off we headed. It's about a two-hour drive there (they're in West Hollywood) and we were terribly late, so I spoke to my artist about what I wanted, gave him the draft, and made an appointment for him to actually do the work. That appointment was yesterday (Saturday night), but we couldn't go because there's a huge fire at the base of the mountain we live on; in case we had to evacuate, we wanted to be home for that. Anyway, my new appointment is next Saturday afternoon. And what am I getting?

The Sock Summit logo. Right on my thigh. I was going to get it on my ass, but that's so saggy and wrinkly and bumpy that it would look like a cheap decal which had come off and been stuck back on. Why that logo? Because it was my first show, it was so wonderful for me, I made so many new friends and finally met old ones, that it carries enormous significance for me. It may sound silly to everybody else, but I don't give a shit. It's my body, and since I don't know how much longer I have to inhabit it, I'm going to decorate it any way I see fit. So there.

Hollywood is a kick in the ass, especially at night. People think that San Francisco is weird? Heh. Not compared to this place. Hit Hollywood Blvd. on a weekend night, and you see things that are just incredible. There are people who dress up like superheroes willing to take their picture with you (for a hefty price, of course), the Kodak Theater, Graumann's (now the Mann), El Capitan, and the Kodak Theater (where the Oscars are). Angelenos LOVE their donuts, it would seem - there's a shop on every corner - so I just have to find the best one and have Hubster bring a box to the parlor while I'm being worked on. And then there's Pink's, the famous hot dog stand which has been there since the 40's, I think, and who makes one of the best hot dogs I've ever had. I would love to walk up and down the street on a Saturday night, but there's that walking issue. Maybe if Hubster holds me up...

We're still sorting everything out, getting the shop put back together, getting payments ready for everybody, trying to get things ready to send out - holy shit, it's a lot of work. I have a meeting for the Haunted Town here this coming Friday night (leave it to me to open my big fucking mouth and volunteer for something), so I have to have some semblance of order in the house by then. That's okay, though - it will light a fire under my big saggy ass to get all this finished. So I think I'll knit tonight (I'm really, really tired) and get to working on it again tomorrow.

Hubster is still looking for work, and I'm beginning to get a little nervous. I've come to really love our home and this town, and I think we're going to have to leave it. Of course, if he tells me that we have to live near the ocean in San Diego, I think I can manage the transition, but I really don't want to leave the state. I'm worried about finances, about finding a house, about finding a new doctor... the list goes on and on. He's looking, but with this shitty economy, I just don't know. I don't want to have to live with my mother again (Hubster has horrible allergies to cats, and her house is full of them), but we'll do what we need to. Fuck.

I'm waiting on whether or not for word if I need to drive back up to the Bay Area for my aunt. I know that she's going to be cremated and laid to rest in the Pacific Ocean, but my cousin Glenn is having a get-together at his house. I would love to go and see family and friends whom I haven't seen in years, but I also do NOT want to see my ex-boyfriend (who remained a family friend), especially since I'm fat, bald, and look like a biker chick. Oh, to ride up on my bike and scare the shit out of the weasely little fuck...

So I think that's about all that's going on around here, other than the fires. There are three huge ones, including one at the base of the mountain I live on top of and one that now encompasses about 65 square miles (the Station Fire). We don't have the biggest one, nor do we have mandatory evacuations, but it's large enough to stay put and not go away from the house. At one point, one of the ingress/egress highways (there are only two of them) was shut down; even though it's open now, if we can't get to Emma to save her, well... I can't even go there.

Off to knit. I have a lot to do, and never enough time to do it all. Life is a whirlwind of activity right now, and I don't know which direction to turn. Add to that the heat (close to 100 degrees), and I'm not a happy camper most days.

But then again, I have a reputation to uphold. Happy?

Not if I'm going to retain Queen Bitch status.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Summit - and Other Stuff

Well, we're finally home from Sock Summit. What a trip, both figuratively and literally! Let's talk about it, shall we?

But first, more bad news. I just got a call from Mom telling me that my aunt has died. I called my cousin and talked to him for an hour. She had COPD and died peacefully in her sleep at 4:45 a.m. He's looking for her papers to see what her last wishes were. So far, he's found one from 2002 saying that she didn't want any services, just to be cremated and floated out on the Pacific Ocean. I don't know yet if I need to drive up there again or not. I didn't know she was so sick; otherwise, we would have gone to see her while we were visiting my mom. Glenn lives in the town next-door. We had left about two days too early. Glenn had moved her into his house and was using hospice. He was shocked when he found out I lived near Los Angeles. Anyway, I'll post if I need to leave again;

On to the show news.

Rather than rent one of those huge, uncomfortable trucks, we had a ball installed on our truck (it turns out that we had a towing package already installed on it - who knew?) and got a trailer instead. It was a lot less expensive, and Hubster was able to pack everything into it just fine. We bought those Space Bags - the ones you suck all the air out of with a vacuum cleaner - to put all the yarn in (worked like a charm and saved a lot of space), labeled the boxes we put everything else into, and just filled it up. Then we hooked it up to the truck and actually got out of here at a decent time.

We made it up to the Bay Area the first day and visited with my family. It was so nice to see them, and we got to spend a lot of time with the kids. Then it was off to Portland the next day. We made it up there by early evening, checked into our motel, and fell asleep pretty early. The next day, we slept in and then went over to the Convention Center to unload. I had a really difficult time with it. Hubster went over first to get started, and I tried to walk over (he got ready before me and wanted to started). I'm barely able to walk now, so I had to stop every few hundred feet to stop and rest. I finally made it over, and found that he had unloaded everything by that time. We went over so I could see the booth; I realized that we should have gotten twice to amount of space, so I freaked out about that. We were just leaving when I saw a petite, beautiful woman heading towards me. Who was it?


The first of my gang of miscreants had arrived! We slobbered all over each other, gave each other lots of hugs, and checked out each other's goodies. It was SO nice to finally meet her! We made plans to meet up the next day and headed back to our hotels.

The next day, we were at the Center bright and early to set up. This being our first show, we had no idea of what we were doing, but my boothmate, Kate of Spindle Cat Studio (also a show virgin) was there too; between me, her, and Hubster, we were able to get everything set up. I truly saw the need for more space then. Remember how I was so afraid that I wouldn't have enough stuff to fill the booth? Heh. I'll be renting two 10 ft. booths for Stitches West (yes, I'm doing that show). I think the booth looked great. Did I remember my camera? Nope. Did I remember my phone has a camera on it? Nope. Too much to think about. Then the classes let out, and it was show time for the students.

We had a good crowd, but nothing horrible. I figured the next day, we'd have a lot more people. Back to the motel for rest and then to the center the next day to meet the public.

I was shocked to find a huge line stretching down the aisle for my booth. They were there to buy the winning Ravelry yarn. I sold out of them in three minutes flat. Talk about bedlam! Then we got all the people who wanted it and whom we had to turn away (at least for those items). The booth was busy all day, though, and we sold a lot of things. Oh... you remember my using the iPhone as my credit card machine? It worked like a charm.

I heard a lot of vendors complaining about how slow it was, the lack of traffic and sales, and how the projected numbers were way off. What I noticed is that some booths had no business while others were constantly busy. I'm not sure why - there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for it, but it was true. We were truly blessed. In fact, I hardly got out to see any of the other booths. I did get to meet many of the other miscreants in my posse - Mrs. Q, Jen of Woolgirl, and a bunch of other broads (ladies? I think not), so I was a happy broad myself.

On one of the breaks I took, I ran into Ron from Buffalo Gold. After a smoking break conversation, he asked me if I would design socks for them. So now I'm the exclusive sock designer for BG and was sent home with a buffalo/bamboo blend to play with and come up with a design for them. I'll also be going to their ranch in Ft. Worth and to some other huge convention in Denver in February. Too exciting! I'm really looking forward to all this. Now I just have to actually come up with the pattern... I'll be doing lace socks in a very fine gauge for my first pair. I also met Cecil, his dad. They're a wonderful family, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.

Lots of other things happened, but I'll save those for my next post. I do want to say that we took Emma with us, and when Hubster took her out to go potty or just for a walk, he had women running up to him asking if that was Emma. He told them yes, and they went nuts meeting her! I was an afterthought - they asked if I was at the show since Emma was there - and she got more love and attention than she's ever received. I'm glad she was such a hit; she needs the socialization. Being such a loving dog, she was very happy to meet everyone. I kept telling Hubster that we should have said she was a service dog and put a back cover on her with our name and booth number on it. I really would have had good sales then!

I don't know what's considered a good take, but we took in about $6K. For our first show, I was thrilled! I can see why the other vendors were complaining, though - some of our lines sold very well, while others just sat there. All in all, it was a fantastic experience. I'll write more about it in the next installment, along with news of my new tattoo.

Off to work on Mt. Yarnsuvius. It's kind of like Chinese food - the more I take out of the pile to put away, the more it seems to grow.

It just doesn't taste as good.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Off to Sock Summit!

I just wanted to tell you that we're leaving tomorrow for Sock Summit. Wow, that snuck up on me! I'm not even ready or done with inventory. NOOOO!!!!!!! And here I thought I would be able to relax this weekend. Fat chance. I'll be tagging and bagging right up until I hit the show floor; then I'll be able to rest when we leave to go home. I think that a lot of the other show participants are in the same boat as I am. Now Hubster is sick from the stress. Great. I have to keep working, though. Oh well... I should be thankful that he's even helping at all.

As of now, the shop is closed down and will reopen some tine after August 12th. Please do not try to place orders during our absence; I won't be looking at email and will have the shop "with me".

Well, that was surreal. I was going to knit for an hour, sleep for an hour, and then get up. That was at 8:00 a.m. It's now 10:30 a.m., and I just woke up. So much for knitting.

Time for coffee and to get Hubster up. Hopefully, he'll be in a good mood. Today is inventory day, shrink-wrap the yarn, get a trailer hitch on the truck, pray that the trailer we rented is big enough, make sure we have everything, blah blah blah. Then it's to bed early tonight and hit the road by 9 a.m. Oh boy - road trip!

See you either at the show or back here on August 12th!