Monday, March 22, 2010

Shirley Paden at Westport Yarns

Shirley & Westport Yarns staffLast Thursday, March 18, was the Grand Opening for Westport Yarns.

Yippee! We are officially transitioned. And we have the stationery to prove it.

[Photo l to r: Chloe, Pam, Cynthia, Beth, Shirley, Fanone, me. We tortured the poor woman with several group photos. A customer was nice enough to run through our cameras for us. We aren't even all in my picture, a couple staff members hadn't arrived yet. So there was a second round of pictures after this one!]

Our grand opening event was a talk and book signing by famed knit ware designer Shirley Paden. Her patterns have appeared in all the big knitting magazines and she teaches classes down in New York City. Her new book is Knitware Design Workshop. I was able to flip through it, and it looks really cool, but I don't have a copy as the staff was barred from buying one until all the customers had a shot—and they sold out!

Although that's great, we all had a little pout anyway, even though these are the normal ground rules. So we've all ordered copies and are comforted by the fact Shirley might pass through again in the summer giving us another opportunity to get her autograph.


Fun with Technology
Shirley Paden at Westport Yarns[Photo: Shirley with the lovely patterns featured in her book. They look good in the book, but better in person. We weren't allowed to play with them, which is probably for the best.]

As soon as I waltzed in the back door of the store I hear, "Oh good, Ann's here." Which immediately put me on alert.

Turned out Shirley had a video clip and slide show to go along with her talk. Beth's son-in-law had set the laptop and projector up, but he was leaving so it had been decided I would drive.

I was flattered. Until I couldn't figure out how to turn the volume up, and the dvd skipped ahead, and I couldn't navigate to the full screen option quickly enough. Leaving me muttering about being a Mac in a PC world. But it worked out ok in the end.

Shirley was a little surprised she wasn't going to be advancing the slide show herself, but she took it in stride and I think we managed quite well considering we'd never rehearsed (if I do say so myself).

She explained how she switched from a technology job to designing knitware and becoming a knitting teacher. She talked about the goals for the book. The slide show was images from the book and she explained a little about each section.

The end of the slide show was a "hall of fame" from people who have taken her design class and had their patterns published. Of the maybe dozen patterns highlighted we had four of the people in the room. Including our own Pam, whose sweater was in the Holiday 2009 issue of Vogue Knitting.

Shirley story She also took some questions.

Susan, who took the class and had her pattern published, said now whenever she is finishing a sweater she thinks of Shirley's grandmother.


So Shirley told us about how she was working on that lovely blue coat as the deadline was approaching. It was almost done when she discovered a mistake. She thought about leaving it, but thought of her mother and grandmother and how they would disapprove. She could hear them saying to fix it and do it right. So she did. It was a reminder to us all to take care and not rush through our projects because we want to be happy with them later.

We were at the store until around 9 p.m. what with wandering around nibbling cheese and waiting for people to get their book signed. I doubt Shirley was able to do any knitting that night. Not only did she get home really late, but her hand was probably sore from all that writing!

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