Creation In Isolation

ShawlPlanning
How things will be looking. Creation in isolation!

The last time I posted, I was getting ready for the busy holiday season and Corona Virus was nowhere on anyone’s radar. We had our first Tennessee Christmas and rang in a new decade in our new home. I really thought last year was pretty crazy, and now already, the first quarter of this year is making last year look like a stroll through a park! Deadly tornados came through at the start of this month, and even now, the city is still cleaning up in the midst of the latest crisis. Tennessee is now in quarantine, as I know many (or all?) of you are.

We are seeing two sides of humanity right now. The ugly side is certainly making headlines – people hoarding food, toilet paper and sanitizer with no concern for who else might need it, others who blatantly ignore the medical community’s desperate requests for people to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus, and of course, an increase in the black market with those trying to capitalize on the emergency. But then there is the other side, which unfortunately doesn’t make headlines as often, but is truly good to see. People who shop for those who can’t, share supplies with those in need, and actively look for ways to contribute and help their fellow humans.

I have been watching for ways to be part of that second group. I truly believe it is important to do what we can to give and uplift, and sometimes the smallest ways are the most meaningful. I know we are all realizing how much we take for granted during our “normal lives”, even if we are already practicing a mindset of gratitude.

So all that said, before I share a little list and a gift for you all at the end, I first want to wish everyone good health. I hope this quarantine will spare us from the virus, and that wherever you are, you are safe and able to get what you need to survive.

This month, we have volunteered as a family as part of a tornado cleanup crew and also with our church at a local food pantry. But I still believe the lighter things of life are important too. For sure, we need beauty, creativity and something to do with our hands. I can’t provide you all with food and toilet paper, but here’s a list of things I’m finding inspiring and helpful right now, and I hope it will benefit you too!

  1. My studio is literally the LAST room to get unpacked and organized. No time like now to finally get it in order! When it comes to organizing yarn stash, this podcast episode was the most helpful thing I found. Actually, her podcast has lots of great stuff, so by all means, don’t stop with just one episode! 😉
  2. Lots of great KAL’s going on right now, but Jill Wolcott’s Finishing Challenge seems the most thorough and well-planned. Definitely want to participate in this. I met her at one of my first TNNAs, and she is a wealth of great personality, style, and knowledge!
  3. Don’t have sanitizer at home? Neither do I! And you really don’t need to worry about it!
  4. For all around general good advice on keeping a positive mindset, as well as how to manage fear during crisis, I can’t recommend Mel Robbins enough. She just did an excellent video yesterday about finances and preparing yourself during uncertain times, but she has lots of other great content as well, all based on science and research. I’m generally a positive person, but I’ve learned alot from her.
  5. And if you just want a super awesome new project to start working on, this one is pretty cool. Pattern is free, although if you want to support the designer, you can go on Ravelry and buy it cheap and she’ll send you a PDF. Let me know if you want to do this as a KAL, because I am definitely going to be casting on once I finish up a few things!

And finally friends, I would like to make my own contribution. You are welcome to any of my patterns for free between now and April 1 with the code “creationinisolation“. Here is the link: https://www.ravelry.com/redeem/elizabeth-kay-booth-designs?code=creationinisolation

It is important to not panic, to stay busy, and to keep doing things that make us happy. I encourage you to use this code as many times as you want for as many of my patterns as you want. Just only put one pattern at a time into your cart, as I could not find a way to make it work for more than one at a time.

Stay strong, stay healthy, and keep making!

TNNA Spring Show Highlights

Shot of my designs hanging in the Colinton Australia booth at TNNA.
My designs hanging in the Colinton Australia booth at TNNA.

If  you’re wondering where I’ve been (since it’s been awhile since I’ve posted), the answer is back and forth across the country – the TNNA Spring Tradeshow in Washington, DC to be exact. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had four designs in the fashion show, so this trip was a big deal for me.

As you might imagine, it was incredibly exciting to see my designs walk the runway, but it was also an incredible amount of work beforehand. However, the fashion show is only an hour or so out of a 5-day trip, so I also wanted to share my other personal highlights from the tradeshow.

Morning Glory Sweater Coat - my new design with Brown Sheep Company
Morning Glory Sweater Coat – my new design with Brown Sheep Company
Sheba - my newest design with Colinton Australia - on the fashion show runway
Sheba – my newest design with Colinton Australia – on the fashion show runway

Obviously, I have to start with the fashion show. As a designer, it’s very rewarding after many months of work to see it all being modeled and walking down the runway. My three designs with Colinton Australia were in the show along with a brand new design with Brown Sheep Company. This is a sneak peek of my new design, which will soon be up on Brown Sheep’s website. I did my best to take photos of everything at the show, but the truth is that TNNA’s photographer did a much better job, so I encourage you to check out my Facebook page to see better shots of my designs on the runway (as shared from the TNNA official page). If you visit TNNA’s page, you can see photos of every design in the entire show. Many thanks to Colinton Australia and also Brown Sheep Company for entering my work!

The Colinton Australia booth, with owner Brandyn and her daughter Maegan
The Colinton Australia booth, with owner Brandyn and her daughter Maegan

Which brings me to my next highlight – working with Colinton Australia at their booth. I spent the majority of my time with them – setting up, manning the booth after the show opened to help tell people about the yarn, answer questions, etc. This was a huge learning curve for me, since I am a designer, not a vendor, but it is always helpful to have another viewpoint of your own industry. Running a yarn company takes as much diligence and dedication as being a designer or a yarn shop owner. They came all the way from Australia, so it was great to meet the people I had previously only talked to on the phone. I thank them for the opportunity to learn.

If you aren't familiar with Jill's work, I encourage you to check her out!
If you aren’t familiar with Jill’s work, I encourage you to check her out!

I am always happy to meet fellow designers, and I had the privilege of meeting Jill Wolcott this trip. If you are not familiar with Jill’s work, you will want to look her up. She is an extremely experienced knitter, and in addition, taught at FIDM in San Francisco. She is very knowledgeable about garment construction and writes detailed, concise patterns. She teaches at shows, maintains online classes, and was a dedicated volunteer at the TNNA Fashion Show. She was gracious enough to give me feedback about my work and to share her thoughts on the industry and designing, and I can’t recommend her enough. If you would like to build your knitting skills, particularly in making clothes, you will not be sorry to take a class with her.

My new "friend" - taken at the Little Gidding Farms booth. Lovely yarn, and lovelier people!
My new “friend” – taken at the Little Gidding Farms booth. Lovely yarn, and lovely people!

Awhile back, I noticed someone by the name of LGFSuris followed me on social media. LGF stands for Little Gidding Farms and the name caught my fancy, so when I noticed they had a booth at TNNA, I had to introduce myself. Take it from me, their alpaca is as soft and lovely as you could wish alpaca yarn to be, and they were as lovely as their yarn. They even graciously took my photo more than once when it didn’t turn out the first time. Their name, by the way, is a reference to a T.S. Eliot poem.

I am very happy to tell you that my final highlight will be ongoing, and a great opportunity for all of you. Colinton Australia and I will be partnering on kits, starting with my Unfurled shawl. Their colorist put together a number of palettes, and you will be able to order kits that include your choice of palette, plus the pattern for an excellent price. Save your yarn money, because it will be a great deal from a company that NEVER puts their luxury fiber on sale! I may also do a KAL at the same time, just to make it more fun for all of us. More details coming soon in another post!