Kits ‘n Grins

PART of the evening’s outgoing kit mail

Gimme an E! Gimme a GAD! What have you got? A boatload of freakin’ tulips apparently. We’ve been inundated with orders for Dream in Color’s Tulips Sweater for babies. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee blogged about this little ditty at Yarn Harlot a time or two, and the blogosphere appears to have lost it ever-lovin’ mind. God knows I’m a whore, though, so of course, I put together another eight colourways. We’ve already sent several, we’ve got two mail tubs of these bad boys going out in the morning, there’s still a list of folks waiting for them (they’re being wound off into smaller balls for kits since eight balls of the yarn as it’s originally skeined would have cost about $132; we’re selling the kits for $32), and the orders are still flowing in.

Herr Doktor winding yarn off for kits

I’d planned on visiting my mom in Georgia this week, but with this, a rep visit tomorrow, a 7-session design class I’m teaching starting Friday, a July visits from Jillian Moreno of Acme Knitting Company and Amy Singer of Knitty and No Sheep for You (co-authors of Big Girl Knits) to plan for, and one of our monster Yarn Tasting events a couple of weeks later, I‘d feel like a total shit-heel running off and leaving the work to Rob. Señor Carson the LAST time I saw himPlus, Annie Modesitt of modeknit and mother to Max-of-the-broken-bowl (yeah, yeah, and all that other magnificent stuff, but really, it’s all about the haircuts, no?) is here in early August (the three days following the birthdays of my sister, Deb, and her beautiful first grandchild, Carson). I’m happily swamped, I suppose, but swamped, nonetheless. My mom is recovering from surgery after a recurrence of ovarian cancer, and I’m feel particularly crappy about bailing on her, too, so if you’ve got any good vibes in you, aim them for the 30240 zip code in west central Georgia. She’ll take all you can get her. Her prognosis appears to be fairly good as far as cancer goes… particular the ovarian kind, but if you ever need a major kick in the rubber parts, let someone tell you your mom has ovarian cancer. It’s a doosey.


So, here’s something a little less grim. My family’s recent dose of reality has me on a major get-yer-shit-together kick. Having just returned from an awesome TNNA Market complete with nice visits with friends (Hi, Kristy!! Hi, Sharon!!), Rob and I have had a little heartfelt nuclear holocaust turned life-altering recommitment. True, we’ve always been good for the apocalyptic stuff, but the other bit’s something of a change. Pleasant change, too. We’ve got a guest in the house coming in later this evening, and I had one of those decidedly inconvenient moments when I decided that everything in my bedroom had to be destroyed. I managed to channel it into a brief semi-purging of the shelves over the bed, but the Arrival ball will hit shortly. It has to. I have an awesome view of the Grand River and downtown Lansing (no snickering, it’s actually pretty from a distance), but the entire room looks like a really nice dorm room for a really sad geek with no life… Oh, shit. That was a little too close for comfort. Anyway, that’s gotsta go. Everyone knows me for color, and I live in parchment colored walls out of cardboard boxes that weren’t completely unpacked after our last move three years ago. No. Not gonna happen.

Mary’s little boy has had just about enough. And he couldn’t be happier about it.

This little piggie

I’m always sympathetic to those people who come into ThreadBear and feel a bit overwhelmed by the size and myriad options. It’s something that I see on a daily basis, and frankly, there really are days when I look around and get the feeling that things look stale… even occasionally empty. Of course, that’s usually followed by a moment of realization that I’m being highly overcritical, but we all get used to the things we see every day. My reason for bringing it up, though, is that I just got a massive dose of not-even-remotely-stale: TNNA Market in Columbus, Ohio.

For those of you who don’t know and haven’t read elsewhere, that’s the trade show where shops generally purchase much of their season’s offerings. We also have a ton of wonderful sales reps who service this part of the country, so much of our ordering was already done, but it’s still breath-taking to walk into such a smorgasbord of beautiful and intriguing fibers, yarns, tools, and accessories. We did wind up ordering several new (or new to us) lines that we’re very excited about including Habu Textiles (for whom we also scheduled a trunk show and guest instruction with Takako Ueki), Alchemy Yarns (HEY, GINA!!), and Neighborhood Fiber Co. We also added bags Lexie Barnes, new Vivian Hoxbro kits, shawl and jacket closures from Moving Mud, and the KnitTube from Namaste (plus restocks on their other great bags), and (yes, Barb) we’ll finally be bringing in the luxury wood needles that we’ve been lusting over from Lantern Moon.

As much as anything, though, the highlights of the trip for me were the numerous connections we were able to make with folks from all over North America. We had a great dinner with our friend and S. R. Kertzer sales rep, Norm Bagley, and got to finally meet his delightful wife, Judy. We showed up for dinner and found out that we were also being joined by designer Sandi Prosser who turned out to be a hoot (by the way, Sandi, e-mail me if you read this… I have that billboard photo for you). We had beer and sushi to eighties disco with indigirl, Amy Swenson of Make One, and her partner, Sandra. It was also the weekend for Columbus’ gallery walk, so Saturday night, Rob and I met Lucy Neatby and Susan (sorry, Susan… I never noticed your last name) for a fun, funny, and quite loud dinner at Haiku for AMAZING sushi and marching band music (by what appeared to be more of a sashaying band… well, except for the women) and walked back through the throng of people and checked out a bit of the ambiance of Ohio’s capitol city’s High Street. We played with our buddy Jillian Moreno, our favorite Canadian wool-a-phobic, Amy Singer, and the ever-so-humble and eminently talented Annie Modesitt, made crazy face with Cookie A, and were delighted to meet Kristi Porter, Drew Emborsky, Amy O’Neill Houck. Sally Melville introduced us to her daughter (who is beautiful, by the way). AHH!!! We just saw EVERYBODY!

Oh, I can’t NOT mention this. We had a wonderful conversation with Stacy Charles. Since, we joined TNNA, each time we’ve seen him, he’s been running to be someplace else. He’s served as TNNA President, and as owner of Tahki-Stacy Charles, there’s always someone vying for his attention. But he was very gracious with his time, invited us to have a seat, and had quite a nice conversation with us about how ThreadBear got started, how things were going, and where we were headed. Now, I had always heard that he was a nice guy, but I had no idea. I’m fond of many of our vendors, but it’s really easy to sell products when you know the people behind them are interested, not only in their own bottom line, but yours and your customers’.

Dream in Color Tulip Baby Sweater

Rob and I made our name in this business putting together kits and colorways for people. Recently, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee posted her interest in the Tulip Baby Sweater from Dream in Color, and the knitting world went nuts. It’s a very cute sweater, certainly. And we love the yarns. But really… did you think we’d settle for the original? It’s available as a kit, but so are the other eight color options below. If you’re interested in picking one up, let us know at










If you’re paying attention, you may realize that the even numbered offerings are actually the inverse of the preceding odd-numbered colorways. Each kit will contain enough yarn to complete the project as written in the selected colorway. That means that if you switch the colors around, you’re apt to run out of yarn. The kits will run $32 plus tax (where applicable) and shipping (again, where applicable). Please contact us at to order or call 517-703-9276 (YARN) or toll-free at 866-939-2327 (BEAR).

Have a wonderful evening, and I’ll talk to you soon… yes, I said soon. 😉