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My visit to Knit Picks in Vancouver, WA

Well, the day finally came! Tuesday, April 7, 2009. Kelsy (DD) and I drove over the 205 bridge and Columbia River around 3 pm to the Crafts Americana Group office to meet Kelley and staff.

I told the receptionist who we were and why we were there and signed in. Then we were ushered into the backroom where Kelley had been wandering about in anticipation of our arrival.

Got a huge hug from little Kelley and we were greeted by excited Xena barks and wagging tail. Kelsy (DD) said "Hi" to Xena while I hugged Kelley, and then we switched off.

We then went up the elevator and were introduced, in turn, to Alison, and Tina, and the people in the "KP nest". Nina is the newest staff member, whose entire job it is to knit with Knit Picks yarn and design stuff! How cool is that??? (I think I saw Angela in the parking lot as we were coming in, but I wasn't certain it was her.) Kim, the "book lady" is tucked snug in the corner with a pile of books guarding the entrance to her cubicle area. Katie was sick and on her way home... hope you feel better soon Katie! Others were met briefly or were not around when during the tour. :-)

In Alison's office, I saw where all the photography and videos are made for the website and catalogs, etc. And saw a scrumptious hank of yarn that Alison had handspun from "JulieSpins" roving to which she has added pearls throughout and one ply of silver thread. Kelsy (DD) and I both ooo'd over that. :-) Kelley rolled her eyes at the sheer torment of Alison's constant fiber treasures with which she generates envy. LOL!

I got to see the Podcast room, a new addition that has been set up specifically for Kelley to do the Knit Picks Podcasts. She says she feels much more secure doing the podcasts there because she is no longer distracted by the concern someone may come in unexpectedly or make unexpected noises that might be picked up in the background... or foreground. The walls have been foam padded, which increases the quality of the Podcast sounds as well... if you've noticed an improvement in the sound quality of the last several Podcasts, that would be the reason. On a humorous note, it occurred to me that Knit Picks now has a "padded room" when someone starts to go a little postal! LOL!

I couldn't restrain myself from asking if I would get to actually see the new City Tweed yarn. I got to pet it and I can tell you, you're gonna love it! Didn't see the entire colorway, but saw enough to make me drool. :-)

I also saw the "yarn board" (my term) where decisions about colors to go and colors to come are puzzled out. Right next to that are several bookcases with various books, current and new.

We saw the warehouse area, and got a tour of the quilting section, Connecting Threads, where I met Karen, and some of the other staff from there. including Judy and Mari... and someone else whose name I never caught (sorry) and wasn't there very long.

I also got to meet Bob and had a pleasant chat with him about marketing related to the Community vs the website shopping area vs print catalogs. I had to giggle because Kelley introduced me to Bob as the "defender of Knit Picks on the internet" (due to some minor "altercations" at Ravelry)!!! Kelsy (DD) laughed at that depiction too!

We were given a tour of Kelley's office. Having listened to the Podcasts, I knew I'd see a couple of specific things, like the new papasan sofa and the little water fountain on her desk area... and a bed and water bowl for Xena, of course. :-) She also has two large vase style bowls, each with live water plants and a single siamese fighting fish in each. I've kept Bettas before as well, so that was a link with me.

Kelsy (DD) and I went to the elevator to go get something quick to eat, and were surprised when a little fluffy blur came tearing out as quickly as the doors opened. Apparently, Xena had somehow gotten into the elevator and wasn't quick enough to exit along with the person with whom she'd taken the trip!

Kelsy (DD) and I ran over to nearby Sweet Tomatoes to grab a take out supper, which we ate at Kelley's side desk... while she enjoyed "memory lane" looking at my Sweater Workshop Sampler, which I brought to show her. Over our meal, while Kelley ate her soup, Kelsy (DD) regaled her with stories and info about the SCA to which Kelley was introduced in the distant past.

After our meal, we went into the Connecting Threads crafting area for "Craft Night." Yes! Kelsy (DD) and I had been invited to join Craft Night! Can you believe it? Little ole me?

Kelley had warned us that, once Xena realized it was Craft Night and she would not be going home for her regular meal, she would pout. I was busy chatting when Kelsy (DD) said, "Oh. my. gosh. She IS pouting!" And I looked over to see Xena in her little bed, which Kelley had brought over from her office, with her head hanging dejectedly over the edge. If she was physically capable of pouting her lips, she would have... but her eyes effectively expressed her profound displeasure at being "trapped" there for who knows how long before her evening treat. LOL!

Kelley is now doing "English Paper Piecing" [EPP].

She played with her new toys and textiles while Karen, Judi, and Mari also worked on their EPP projects. Kelsy (DD) worked on her embroidery project and did a quick demonstration of her lucet and showed a recent product of her fingerloop braiding.

I worked on my Sweater Workshop sweater... kind of... but mostly, I took photos of Xena (I love taking photos of puppies and babies) and enjoyed all the playful conversation and productions of others. :-) A.D.D. makes it hard for me to focus on something I don't know well and have a lot of other things going on around me, like multi-layered conversations and activities. I'd hoped to have been able to get my sleeves attached to the body of my sweater and maybe have a couple of rounds of knitting done before Kelsy (DD) and I had to leave for Vancouver, but that didn't work out. Attaching the sweater body and sleeves is a new thing for me and something which, if not done correctly, would be a major problem. I wasn't able to focus on that, and everything else, so I just got everything ready to put together, and left my project at that.

We ended the evening with a brief photo shoot, by Kelsy (DD), using my camera, of Kelley, Xena, and me in front of a huge, beautiful quilt in Karen's office. I do apologize that I was not more diligent to take more photos during the earlier part of afternoon. On the one hand, I wanted to be respectful of the fact I was a guest, and on the other, I was too engrossed in the meetings and touring to take pictures too.

Thank you, Kelley, for inviting us to visit "the Knitting Holy Land" and treating us so kindly and graciously! We appreciate your hospitality and that of all the staff we met at Crafts Americana Group. You were all very sweet and we had a great time!

Hope you enjoyed these few photos that show I have met Kelley and Xena and was present for a Craft Night at the office. :-D (I've posted all the better shots in my Profile.)

See Kelley talking about her newest avocation.

[whisper] Okay, Karen, I've done my part to help spread the word to the Knit Picks Community about your other craft addiction, "English Paper Piecing." LOL!

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Comment by Elianastar on April 15, 2009 at 11:01am
Karen: Just doin' my part, ma'am! LOL! We had a great time with you all too... please make sure to let me know when you finish that project you were working on! ;-)
Comment by Karen J on April 15, 2009 at 10:07am
We had so much fun Star! Thanks for spreading the quilting word :)
Comment by Debbi NW Ohio on April 10, 2009 at 8:44pm
I can tell you enjoyed your day and visit to the KP office. Isn't it funny how fiber and hospitality go together so naturally? It sounds like they enjoyed having you visit as much as you enjoyed the time spent with the KP staff and Kelley (not to mention Bob the mighty defender) I'm glad you had fun.
Comment by Elianastar on April 10, 2009 at 6:05pm
Thanks, Peggy. I wanted to take others "on my tour" with me if I could. Hope I accomplished that.
Comment by Peggy Stuart on April 10, 2009 at 5:21pm
Star: Lucky you! Sounds like you had a great time! Good story, good writing and really interesting photos. --P
Comment by Elianastar on April 10, 2009 at 3:58pm
Well, I'm gonna come by in a few weeks and leave something with Alison... if you are around then, we can say HI then! I was sorry to miss you, and Kerin too!
Comment by Angela on April 10, 2009 at 2:29pm
I'm so sorry I missed you! I was running a few errands. :(
Comment by judezy on April 10, 2009 at 2:19pm
Sounds like a great time! I hope they know how much we appreciate all they do for us yarnaholics. Xena is absolutely gorgeous. It all sounds like a dream come true.

Comment by Alicia on April 10, 2009 at 12:13pm
How fun! thanks for sharing!!!

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