Monday, October 27, 2008

Wilde Weekend !

Sorry for the blurry picture! I was having problems actually holding the camera still while she talked. Here she is talking about the book and the fact that all the models in the book are actually friends of hers, not professional models. She shared a wonderful story about one of the models who is a Harley riding ethnic drumming woman! Loved the stories! If you have a chance to hear Gina speak or take one of her workshops, DO IT! I drove 3 hours each way to see her and I have to say, I think it was worth every second!

On Friday night I drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma to see the owner of Alchemy yarns give a talk at Loops yarn shop. Warning: This is where I am going to sound like a fiber freak...suck it up and get ready:

Holy Smokes! It was flippin' fabulous!!

Both going to Loops and getting to meet Gina Wilde. I was afraid I wouldn't get to Loops in time for the presentation since I've never really timed how long it would take me to get there, so I left early. I won't admit to HOW EARLY, but I walked into Loops at 3:45 for the 5:30 presentation. You do the math...

It did give me plenty of time to talk to Shelly (the owner), her great staff and the other customers that were there knitting. I found several really great patterns (hint: the single copies of the patterns are in the room with the long table--I didn't realize this until Shelly showed me--they have a huge inventory of patterns!!!) and probably touched every single skein of yarn in that store! I did get the pattern for a really great looking 3 way wrap that Loops designed. I bought one ball of the suggested yarn and will have to go back later when I am actually ready to knit the pattern. It is a Karabella yarn, which I haven't seen anywhere else. It really provides a nice drape and sheen to the finished wrap, so I will pick up more when I actually cast on. I have a mohair shawl on the needles right now, along with a hat , so I really am trying to make myself get these done BEFORE I move on to the next project...I digress...Shelly has designers come to the shop and give presentations often. Get on her mailing list so you can be notified when she has one of these events. That's exactly how I found out about Gina. She has had several other designers such as Louisa Harding. When she sends out the emails it is first come- first serve, so you have to email immediately if you want a spot.

For those of you unfamiliar with Alchemy yarns, the designer and owner is Gina Wilde. The minute she came in the door, I knew every mile of the drive to and from Wichita was going to be worth it! She talked about how the company was started, about the yarns themselves and her dyeing process. Alchemy yarns is a higher price point yarn--I now realize the reason for this. Gina and her small staff hand paint and dye EVERY skein that is sent out. There are no machines.The yarns are steamed in large steamers outside to set the dyes. I was amazed at the amount of labor that goes into these yarns. So when you buy Alchemy yarns, you really are getting an original piece of art to work with. There were several shop models at Loops in the yarns and some shop samples from Gina's book Shibori Knits, which I highly recommend. Gina explained the process of felting and the accidental felting that brought about this book. I got to talk a bit to Gina and her husband--both of them are very warm and interesting people. Gina is a cancer survivor, so she does get my admiration on that point too. I know, I'm babbling--get the book and buy Alchemy yarns! For those of you in the Central Kansas area who are unable to get to Oklahoma to buy Alchemy, Julie at the Newton Beadery is going to be carrying the Alchemy yarns. Either way, it is fabulous yarn that is worth every cent. One of my favorite yarns looks like raffia in the skein. When I fisrt touched it, I thought "meh..". However once you work with it, the fibers soften up. Once it is washed and blocked, it is sinful!! I am going back to Loops to pick up some of this for a shawl next time I'm in Tulsa.

While in Tulsa, I got to stop by Whole Foods and do a little shopping. I would LOVE to have a Whole Foods in Wichita. I love their store brand (365 brand) and buy a ton of stuff when I am in Kansas City or Tulsa, where the only close Whole Food chains are.However, that said, it might not be the best thing for our Mom and Pop natural food stores, so I will be satisfied to make it a destination when I'm in KC or T town. Hubby and I lived in Tulsa for a while (the twins were born there) and I love going back to visit. There really is something magical about Tulsa. It is a very sophisticated and cosmopolitan town, but the people are very warm and friendly.
I had forgotten how narrow some portions of Lewis, Utica and Peoria street were though.
I used to run up and down Peoria when we lived there and the narrowness didn't phase me. It did catch me off guard this time. Mainly because the SUV in the other lane kept trying to migrate over into my lane.
If you have to take up 4 inches of the lane next to you in order to just drive a straight line, maybe you should try driving something smaller. I'm sure your insurance company would be thankful. I was thankful I was in the Neon. If I had been in my mini van, he would have run right into me. I was polite, I didn't give him any "visual suggestions" after the 4th time he almost hit me. If I hadn't been in a long line of traffic, I would have slowed down to get away from the side of him, or sped up to get in front of him. I must say, I had also forgotten how congested some of the areas can get in Tulsa. That said, it really is a magical place.

I probably should go. As I am typing this, two of my dogs disappeared upstairs. One just came to the landing and is watching me. Something tells me he is the lookout and I am NOT going to be amused at the delinquent canine activity going on upstairs as I sit here and type.

Click on both Loops links. One is to the blog and the other is the official store sight. Great info on both.

A little later I will post about the Central Kansas yarn shop hop, which I went on with Cindy on Sunday. Since I was originally supposed to be in Tulsa all weekend, I hadn't planned on going. We didn't hit all the shops, but I'll report on the ones that we did. The two we didn't visit are on my list to go to in the next month.

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