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Crochet Conference Prep, the Aftermath

Lacy Tunisian crochet swatches crocheted together to form a Mexican 'papel picado' style bunting. It's hung in the car during our road trip to the CGOA conference.
I crocheted together lacy Tunisian Lotus swatches in the car. It reminds me of Mexican “papel picado”. Worked out well for teaching! View full size.

 

This past June and July I blogged fifty days of crochet conference prep. I returned home from the conference on July 17. Today is August 18. What happened between then and now?

This is the first day that I could imagine sitting down to compose a blog post and enjoy it. That’s a full month of recovery from having a booth while also teaching several new crochet topics.

Here’s how the past 30 days went:

  • I needed an immediate inventory of what I came home with, so the first thing I did was unpack a gazillion boxes of booth and teaching stuff.
  • After counting everything, I put away what I could. This left me with five big heaps to sort and pack up carefully for future events. It took two weeks to work through these heaps step by step.
  • It also took about two weeks to completely unpack suitcases and get through all the laundry only because I felt like such a zombie.
  • Filled lots of orders that continued to come in every day from my website. (I love this about conferences: so many visitors to my website!)
  • Discussed new color #20 of Lotus yarn with our mill.
  • Slept and slept. Slept some more.
  • Sat still happily without my mind racing. No adrenaline rushes, worries, or multitasking. Enjoyed what others were posting about their conference experiences.
  • It took days to go through all of my emails.
  • It took a full four weeks to settle all incoming and outgoing booth and teaching monies. (This would surprise me except that it took longer last year.)
  • Thoughts: “I could maybe blog this. Or, tomorrow.” “What do I want to crochet next. No idea.” “What about next year? Not sure.”

Crochet Conference Prep Results

How it was better than last year’s:

I was careful to keep a more accurate and readable list of starting inventory. This way, after returning home, it was easy to compare with the ending inventory (and trust the numbers!). I had to force myself to be disciplined about this. While packing up the merchandise to ship up to the show, I could see when my starting amounts got fuzzier last year.

This year we shipped by UPS to a nearby UPS store, not to the event or show management company. It worked great this time: fast, cheap, and convenient.

Thanks to a tip from Doris who used to transport and manage the entire CGOA Design Contest, I purchased some giant clear blue zippered storage cubes. These are perfect for loading up every inch of a car with soft items (yarns and crocheted items).

Last year I felt like a zombie for months. A 2015 creative slump lasted for so long that I started to fear I was done with crochet designing altogether. This year I took endurance-building tonic herbs and vitamins for the weeks before and after the event. Maybe they worked! The creative slump only lasted 3 weeks this time. (Last year I also had jet lag.)

I like the pattern info tags I created at the last minute for the three shawls that George Shaheen of 10 Hours or Less designed in my Lotus yarn.

The “papel picado”-style swatch buntings (pictured above) that I crocheted on the way to Charleston worked out really well for me in classes because I could group them by technique and theme. I’m going to do this with more Lotus swatches.

*Blogging those fifty days of prep kept me focused on the present next step while also accountable to an observer (my blogging self). Plus it leaves me with tips for my future self.

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Pineapple Lace and the CGOA Conference

Doris Chan's pineapple lace jacket and wrap design shown here in 3 sizes and Lotus colors.

Pineapples are the theme for this year’s crochet conference (2016). CGOA’s Hall of Fame Award winner happens to be a pineapple lace queen!

You know these are freshly crocheted because the colors are the new ones we just received from the mill. Even my husband is amazed. (Not shown: Lavender Ice. That’s for another day.)

If you’ll be attending the conference this month, come by our booth #203 (on the right after you enter the market). Lots of pineapple lace to see and try on!

Pictured: Three sizes of Curaçao —a wrap with jacket option—in Carbonite (dark grey), Emerald Deep, and Dark Roast colors of Lotus.

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New Lotus Yarn Colors Arrived (finally)

NEW: Orange Luxe, Carbonite, Lustrous Tan, Lavender Ice, Emerald Deep

Five New Lotus Yarn Colors are Here!

Now that the new yarn shipment is here I’ll make this a quick post and then go back to checking it all in. I weigh each cone and list it with its lot (a way to keep track of inventory, etc). I’ve learned it’s best to treat each raw cone from the mill as a unique item. Each has a different amount of yarn on it and is part of one particular lot.

I took the speediest photos I could. These five colors all fill gaps in our existing range. That’s a total of twenty Lotus yarn colors.

I’m pleasantly surprised by the rich and elegant look of the new colors. The orange could have been bright; instead it’s warm and rich. The emerald green is a full jewel tone. Even the neutrals are rich-looking and make my fingers itch to crochet them (it takes a lot for a neutral to hit that spot for me).

New Lotus Yarn Colors Need New Names. Hmm.

The ideal name for each color meets three priorities in this order:

  1. The color name has a maximum of twelve characters so that it fits well within the space I’ve left for it on the ball band.
  2. The name conveys the spirit of the exact color. Like our “Bamboo Green”: it is not minty just because it’s a light green; it’s more pistachio, and clean like a new spring shoot: bamboo. “Satin Grey” is exactly that. So is “Dark Roast”, and “Rose Red” (it’s not a hot fire red). A mental picture of the color can help correct whatever it looks like on someone’s monitor.
  3. It’s nice when the color name refers to the signature sheen and drape that makes this yarn a keeper for us.

The final Lotus color names I’m considering:

  • Pale Violet or Lavender Ice or Smoky Lilac or Icy Amethyst
  • Emerald, Emerald, or Emerald
  • Soft Caramel or Mushroom Bisque or Cafe au Lait or Honey Taupe or something
  • Carbonite or Slate Patina or Graphite or Charcoal or Gunmetal Glint
  • Orange Riche or Persimmon or Tangerine
2018 update: The color names Doris and I settled on are: Lavender Ice, Emerald Deep, Lustrous Tan, Carbonite, and Orange Luxe. (Links go to projects that show off these colors in good lighting or with contrasting colors.)
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CGOA Award Event Plans

I’ve mostly blogged lately about getting ready to teach and have a market booth at the big crochet conference next month. Here and there I’ve mentioned some special events I also plan for, such as the fashion show banquet and design contest. This year I’m making special preparations for the Hall of Fame event when my friend accepts the CGOA award. 

The CGOA Hall of Fame recipient for 2016 is my close friend Doris Chan. We met at CGOA’s 2004 conference in Manchester NH. There could be no Lotus yarn if we’d never met.

For the past few days I’ve been tracking down which of Doris’ earliest designs I have. My mom has the most important one of all, and she’s in Iowa. Back in March 2004 I used a pattern by Doris called Celebration Shawl to crochet a Mother’s Day gift.

Back then I had no idea who designed the shawl I made. I just leafed through my issue of Crochet! magazine and thought it looked like fun to make. The yarn was soft, cheerful and warm. I knew my mom would enjoy wearing it in a dreary Iowa winter.

Doris didn’t know that her design had been published somewhere. When she saw the bag I made to go with it, that really threw her off. The bag wasn’t part of her pattern. I just crocheted it on the plane from the leftover yarn.

Of course she had to ask me about it, and the rest is history. The next year I crocheted her a silver wire bracelet that is a miniature replica of her shawl pattern. (Blue bugle beads kind of look like Fun Fur yarn, right?)

Twelve years later, Doris gets the Hall of Famer CGOA award! This will be a very special conference.

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Project Tests for New Crochet Classes

Love knot hexagonal mesh is beaded in such a way that a cluster of them looks like a sea urchin.
View project page for this “Bead Urchins Cuff” in Ravelry.

I’m still testing new crochet designs…

…for the five classes I teach next month! This started months ago. It never stops, actually.

I have other new crochet ideas in progress for this year’s classes too. For Tunisian Eyelet Meshes I have a draping collapsible “Leanin’ Loopholes” wrap to finally start when the new Lotus colors arrive. Another project in motion for the Stitch Games class is an argyle (only a few rows done, no photos yet).

When CGOA puts out a call for class topic proposals in the fall, I send more than enough: all the topics that I’ve enjoyed teaching in the past, plus interesting variations on them, plus new ones. Designing new crochet examples starts the moment I find out which ones I’ll be teaching. (Not on purpose, it just happens.)

Meanwhile

Meanwhile I stand ready (with camera) to receive a giant new lot of Lotus yarn. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new colors. Doris has her designing cones already so I know UPS will be here any day. Once the yarn arrives–on giant cones–I get some of it turned into Z-Bombes (1-pounders). A lot of it will be “pull cakesASAP.

I also stand ready to design with it. I’ll need some new crochet for the road trip up to the conference, right? Doris got started immediately with a new design in emerald green. This reminds me that I also need to lock in the new color names for the ball bands and snip cards.

I’m on Day 35 of my 50 blogging days of crochet conference prep and I’m feeling behind! I still need to get some crochet patterns reformatted into print versions (for some of my classes and for kits in the market booth).