Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wherein Facebook stole my blog posts!

I'm a bad, bad blogger. It's true. Facebook has totally usurped my blogging brain.

Well, that and the fact that between my "day job" running the shop and my "night job" transcribing I don't have a lot of bandwidth left for writing blog posts.

For now, I'll just say that if you want to know what's going on at the shop, you should follow the Facebook page. I update it on a regular basis with pictures and everything. Just like I used to do here!

I'm not sure when I'll be back to regular blog posts here, so I won't make any promises I can't keep. But I'm not ruling out possibilities, either.

If you're reading this, thanks! You're much more loyal than I would ever have imagined. :)

Ciao for now!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Hangin' at the shop!

Today was spent making progress in setting up Urban Fiber Arts. Once again, friends came over and spent the afternoon helping me. I'm so lucky to have these amazing people in my life! There is no way this shop could happen without their help!

Scott had offered to hang some speakers for me. Then he showed up and surprised me by bringing these awesome speakers that are professional-quality and proceeded to suspend them from the ceiling. Did I mention the ceilings are about 14 feet tall?

Next weekend, he's bringing over an amplifier and all I'll need for music is my iPod or to connect the system to the computer and there will be lovely sound dispersed throughout the shop. Amazing! Thank you so much, Scott!!!

Donnie and Angel helped me put together the rolling carts that I'm using for shelving. We got three of them done and then ran out of shelf clips with three shelves left to go on the fourth cart. I'll go to Portland Store Fixtures this week and get some more so we can finish that one.

While we assembled the carts, Duffie and Wendi took on the task of opening up all the SKUBB cubes from IKEA that will actually hold the yarns and fibers. Angel and I had gone to IKEA earlier in the week and purchased 34 packs of these cubes, three to a pack. Wendi and Duffy were ripping plastic and zipping up the back side of each cube, then cutting out all the tags from the inside of them. As soon as we finished assembling a cart, they loaded it up with cubes. This truly started making the place look like it was ready to sell something!

Oh, and then there's the seating area! I purchased some great chairs from Cost Plus (on sale, no less) that are comfortable, sturdy, and the exact right colors for the shop. Lori, Angel, and Duffy put together the two that I had brought in (there are two more still in my garage).

I had purchased a piece of vinyl wall art from MiraentuInterior.com in Mexico. They have some really marvelous art pieces and shipment was very speedy. Here are Donnie and Angel putting the piece on the wall.

And here's Duffy doing her best Vanna White imitation to show off the finished product.

This shot also gives you a peak at the chairs, table and rug in the sitting area, as well as one of the carts with the cubes awaiting product.

First shipments of yarn should start arriving this week. More orders will also be placed. Next weekend, Scott and Donnie will install the rest of the lighting and, if it arrives this week, the slat wall. Checkout counter and display case will arrive with the slat wall. Then the point of sale system needs to come in and I will be furiously entering products into the inventory database and printing labels and stocking shelves.

There are more details to take care of, too -- like a city business license and getting the signs made. But things are really starting to roll along and I've got my fingers crossed that I will be able to officially open the doors before October.

Did I mention that I have incredible friends??? :)


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Want to help decorate the new shop?

If you are a knitter, crocheter, weaver, felter, or any other "er," and would like to help decorate the soon-to-be-open Urban Fiber Arts' space, here's how you can do it.

I was inspired by Green Mountain Mama's pattern that popped up on Ravelry, but I'm not worried about lettering or that they're all the same size or i-cord connections. I just need banner flags in a variety of colors and sizes. Only caveat is that they shouldn't be too big, maybe about 12 inches long would be the largest I'd want.

Here's the deets on making a knitted version. But remember, they don't have to be knitted. :)

Size US7 needles (or size appropriate for the yarn you use)
Some leftover worsted or DK weight yarn (or whatever else you like)

Cast on an odd number of stitches. This will be the top, widest edge, so figure out how big you want it now.

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Knit 2, Purl to the last two stitches, Knit 2
Row 4: Knit 2, SSK, Knit to last 4 stitches, Knit 2tog, Knit 2
Row 5: Knit 2, Purl to last two stitches, Knit 2
Row 6: Knit all stitches
Row 7: Knit 2, Purl to last two stitches, Knit 2

Repeat rows 4 through 7 until there are 7 stitches, total, remaining. End by working Row 7.

Finishing rows:
Row 1: Knit 2, Slip 1 knitwise, Knit 2tog, PSSO, Knit 2 - 5 stitches remain
Row 2: Knit 2, Purl 1, Knit 2
Row 3: Knit all stitches
Row 4: Knit 2, Purl 1, Knit 2
Row 5: Knit 1, Slip 1 knitwise, Knit 2tog, PSSO, Knit 1 - 3 stitches remain
Row 6: Knit all stitches
Row 7: Knit all stitches
Row 8: Knit all stitches
Row 9: Slip 1 knitwise, Knit 2tog, PSSO - 1 stitch remains
Row 10: Knit 1

Cut yarn and pull tight. Fini!

If you'd like, you can block the flag, or I'll do it with the steamer at the shop. Either way is fine.

Feel free to embellish your flags however you like or add a hang tag with your name on it so you can spot it in the shop, or whatever.

Thanks for the help! Stay tuned for more developments. :)

Another one? Oh, my!

Warning! The sky may fall around your ears at any moment! Certainly posting twice in one day after such a long silence will have some sort of catastrophic event, don't you think? :)

Okay, folks in my knitting group have been after me to post pictures, so here are some "before and after" shots.

First, we have the space as it was when I leased it.

Now, I don't have anything particularly against pea green, but I sure didn't like it on these walls! I guess for the former tenant it made some sense. After all, it was an Asian/Organic convenience store of sorts. But for yarn and fiber, this color simply would not do.

Further, the floor looked like it had once been carpeted, but that was ripped up and someone did a really bad job of painting it. It was splotchy and changed colors towards the back of the shop. Just had to go.

So, Tom from Painting Visions came out and in a couple of days' time transformed the place for me. I had picked out some colors at Home Depot and he made them come to life. BTW, if you need a painter, I highly recommend Tom. He gave me a great deal and did a fabulous job very quickly. Hire him! :)

Anyway, here are the after shots (these were taken on my cell phone, so apologies for the quality or lack thereof):

Ah! Much nicer, don't you think? What you can't tell is that on the wall where the cement pillars are, there are three sections. They color starts off slightly darker in the first section, gets a bit lighter in the second section, and then goes to the lightest color for the rest of the walls. The lightest one is called Dogwood White, so it's not a true grey and not a hospital white, either. Just light enough to brighten the place without making your eyes hurt. The red wall in back and around the front windows is a color called Vin Rouge, which appeals to me on several levels!

And isn't the floor just SOOOOO much better?!

There will be a 4-foot black slat wall strip down the longest wall, with the checkout counter sort of in the middle. Seating will be in the front section to the left of the door as you come in. All the shelving is chrome wire carts on wheels, which I can roll out of the way when Portland Spinnerati meets at the shop.

There will be some track lighting added to the walls and brighter bulbs put in the overhead fixtures (which I'd love to replace, but can't afford to do just yet) and oh so many other little tidbits that you'll have to wait to discover!

Okay, I think that's all I have for now. More to come, of course!

The BIG news edition!

My blog updates, as you may have noticed, have been slow in coming this summer. Mostly that's because I kept hoping to have big news to announce. At first it seemed like the news would come quickly. Then something would happen to slow things down again. Every time I thought it was a go, another speed bump would come along. There were times I thought it would NEVER happen and then, in a seemingly quick landslide of events, it DID happen!

What is this mysterious event, you ask? Well, some of you know already, but for those who don't, here it is.

I'm opening a new store!

You may have heard that Knit Knot Studio closed recently due to Elizabeth's retirement. I had originally looked into purchasing her shop, but then the first speed bump came along -- her landlord decided to sell the space rather than enter into a new lease.

That launched a search for a new location in the same Pearl District neighborhood, which took a lot longer than I thought it would. So, Elizabeth had clearance sales, closed the shop, and proceeded to spend a lot of quality time with her new grandchild and her family. I kept looking for a suitable location.

When I found a great location, there were speed bumps there relating to the previous tenant. I won't bore you with the details, but it took a while to get everything straightened out. Then it took some more time for negotiations to work out between me and the landlord. Happily, we finally reached a mutually-agreeable accord and I now have a lease!

Urban Fiber Arts is located at 428 NW 11th Avenue, between Glisan and Flanders, in the heart of Portland's Pearl District. We're directly on the streetcar line and within TriMet's "Free Rail" zone. It's a wonderful spot, with Madena of the Pearl Mediterranean restaurant on one side and WeVillage drop-in daycare on the other.

At Urban Fiber Arts, you'll find quality yarn and fiber from the Northwest and beyond. I'll have a good variety of regionally-produced products from independent fiber artists such as Stitchjones, Abstract Fiber, Black Trillium, Dicentra, Mountain Meadows, Sweetgrass Wool, and more. I'll have a good selection of spinning fiber along with spindles and even a couple of wheels. In addition, you'll find handspun yarns and locally made shawl pins, tote bags, stitch markers, and who knows what else.

If you can't make it to festivals such as Black Sheep Gathering or Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, or if you go to those and then find you can't wait for another year to go by before you touch and see the pretty regionally-produced fibers and yarns again, then Urban Fiber Arts is where you want to be! We'll also have some great products from beyond the Northwest, so stay tuned for information about those.

I'm not sure when opening day will be, but if you want to be notified, as well as find out more about what's going on at the shop as we go along, just send email to info@urbanfiberarts.com and I'll add you to the mailing list.

I have a lot of great things planned for Urban Fiber Arts and I hope you'll come visit!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Black Sheep Gathering

I mentioned yesterday (wow, two posts in two days!) that I spent Saturday in Eugene at the Black Sheep Gathering. It was my first time for this event -- hard to believe, but true.

There was a LOT of stuff to see and do. I mostly wandered the vendor area collecting business cards and asking questions. You'll find out more about that soon enough. :)

I did end up buying a few things, though. Just couldn't resist!

So, what you see here is 4 ounces of Cormo top from Rainbow Yarns Northwest in beautiful mottled colors that I think will spin up into some gorgeous, lofty yarn. I just love Cormo and I love these colors, too!

The other two items are from Jenkins Woodworking. I spent a lot of time touching and playing with the beautiful Turkish spindles Ed and Wanda were selling before finally deciding on the larger one in the picture, a Turkish Delight in Bois de Rose wood. It weighs in at 25 grams. As you can see, I've tried it out a bit already.

The other spindle is the small but mighty Kuchulu. The shaft on this little guy is only 3.5" long and it weighs in at 14 grams. I was resisting the cuteness of these babies until Wanda pulled this one out. It's made from deer antler with a cocobolo shaft. Way too cool to pass up! This one is actaully heavier than many of the ones on display because of the antler. There was a pretty one made from bamboo that weighed just 8 grams!

I'm new to this drop-spindle stuff (I usually stick to my wheel), but I can definitely see the allure. Now I just have to get the cat to stop thinking that these spinning things on a string are cat toys.
Anyway, that's what I was up to on Saturday. Stay tuned. . . :)