miércoles, 4 de junio de 2008

Another update

Sorry for not updating before, things are moving kind of slow here. The building is now in the hands of the city hall, and as there is flammable material inside we can’t start working.
We were allowed in the building again today with Antonio to get a better idea of the damages and our first impression was correct. The mill is ok but everything that was in the warehouse is basically gone.

We are looking for alternatives, but we can’t do anything until we are given the building back, so we are still waiting. We hope it is not a long waiting but we are in Uruguay, so the answer is always “soon”. We have to be patient.

We are leaving for the TNNA show in Columbus on Wednesday. We will of course be monitoring things very closely, but for this week it seems there’s not much to do regarding rebuilding.

Again, I would like to thank you all for your support; it’s great to know that we have so many people with us at this difficult time. We are sure we will thought this soon, and who knows, we may end up doing things better after all this.

To those going to the TNNA show, we hope to see you there, I'll keep posting while I'm in Columbus.

viernes, 30 de mayo de 2008

Update on fire at the mill

I want to thank you all for your messages of support, prayers and best wishes. We finally were let into the building this afternoon.

I have good news and bad news.

The mill is still functional, there is very little damage, and we can start working as soon as the building is open, and after we have electricity back. We hope it will take less than a month but we don’t know as the firefighters are still working on it. After that the municipality has to inspect the building and say which areas are approved and which are to be closed. But basically is a problem of when, not how.

The bad news is that the offices, the lab and the warehouse are basically ruined, we may be able to recover some yarn, but most of it (among it 500 kilos of the sock on the works) is probably gone.

We will have to move the warehouse, we hope we will be able to keep dyeing in the building, but that depends on what the fire department and municipality say.

We think it will take us 20 to 30 days to be dyeing again, either there or at a new location.
We had insurance which will help (in part) with the recovery, but nothing can pay for the time it will take us to be back in a situation where we can ship as before.

Thanks again for your prayers and best wishes, I’m in a down mood right now, just to see all that wasted yarn was heartbreaking, but I hope things will start to look much better next week.

martes, 6 de mayo de 2008

An American in Paris

O.k., I’m sure Gershwin didn’t think about a South American when he wrote that piece, but…it works for us also.

After Handarbeit we went to Paris to do some field trip research, we did not have many expectations after what we learned in Cologne, but it did not hurt that the research was going to be in Paris.

What a wonderful city! We stayed at Antonio’s cousin apartment, in St. Germain, a few blocks from the Ile de la Cite and well, within walking distance of mostly every major tourist attraction downtown in Paris.
It was amazing just to walk around the neighborhoods. I walked basically most of the city center, “working” as we walked from yarn shop to yarn shop.

We visited several yarn shops, but only one was similar to the yarn shops we are used to, and not even that, they did have many yarns, but it was an over the counter yarn shop mostly.

They are yarn sections in the big galleries, and some brands even have yarn shops (quite a few shops actually) around the country that sell their yarn exclusively. So there are Phildar yarn shops and Bouton D’Or Yarn yarn shops selling only those yarns.

The first one we visited was Le Bon Marche, a VERY upscale department store close to where we were staying. It is an amazing place, several stories tall, but made in the 19th century.
The yarn section is in the last floor of the store, and it was surprising. It is one of the two stores we saw that has yarn from several suppliers, it is actually very well stocked, but what was surprising was the store set up.
This is not an over the counter yarn store but they didn’t display the yarn in any flashy way, each brand had its “wall” and there was nothing out of site or eye catching, everything was very discreet, and even though it was full of people, it was amazingly silent.

Le Bon Marche

Le Bon Marche

Next day we went to visit Le Comptoir, a very small yarn shop or Mercerie. It has many different brands for an European store, we saw some other South American brands but of course, I can’t say names here!
It is an over the counter shop packed with yarns both in balls and cones, very nicely set, in a very warmth way.
Le Comptoir
This is me at the front.

After this one I went to visit La Droguerie, right besides Les Halles and St. Stephen church, all the yarn they had was made by or for them, they had a lot of different types of yarn though. It was a wonderful neighborhood to visit, but then, one of the most remarkable things about the trip is that all the shops we went were worth the visit, either for the shop or for the location.

My last visit was to Galleries Lafayette, where they have a big yarn section that has Phildar exclusively. It’s pretty big though.


Ah, and we got to see the Olympic Flame running besides the Sein, of course, I did not do anything to extinguish it, those French cops looked pretty mean, but there were some guys besides me shouting like crazy against it.

Olymic Flame

Well, as expected, Paris was great,fantastic, just to walk around from store to store was amazing, it’s such a wonderful place to walk and visit that I think we will have to make another field trip there very soon!

Olympic Flame


Le Comptoir_front


Le Bon Marche

Le Bon Marche

viernes, 25 de abril de 2008

Lana Grossa act in Fashion Show

Main fashion show

Fashion show inside a booth

A trip to Europe

A few weeks ago we (Antonio and I) went to Handarbeit, a trade show in Cologne, Germany, similar to the TNNA trade shows in the US.

The first thing we encountered when we got in was a knitted car cover!

Handarbeit car cover

Not really pretty but funny…

The booth were big (some were huge by TNNA standards) and most of them displayed the yarn mainly (and some only) with garments. They really showed that Handarbeit was more a fashion show than a trade show.

This is Coats, one of Europe's main yarn distributor, a huge booth,

A booth full of visitors

This is another view of the same booth and one of the show's several rest area, very fashionable!
The part to the left of the booth is a huge "private room" were they received customers and took orders.

another view of Coats

Many booths had refreshment bars, were they served food and beverages. Some had fashion shows and “stages” inside the booths. The main fashion show had 9 models on stage that performed an “act” for each company. This show was repeated each 2 hours.

A Fashion show inside a booth

a fashion show inside a booth

The main fashion show on stage.

main fashion show

There were several performances like this, each for a different company displaying the company yarns.

This is the Lana Grossa act:
Lana Grossa

For what we saw at the show, handpainted yarns are not very popular in Europe right now, it is very difficult for a small company to enter the market, because most if the distribution is handled by big companies. So many of the small companies yarn sold in the US and Canada are very hard to find in Europe.

We also went to visit two yarn shops in the city, Maschenkunst and one right beside the opera house.
Maschenkunst (owned by Daniela Johannsenova) carries Malabrigo and it was the only store similar to the North American yarn shops we saw in our European trip. They sit there and knit and talk (in German so we did not understand a thing!) but we felt like home the moment we went in.

She told us there was another shop close to the Cathedral so there we went and it was our first experience with a truly European shop. They had no place to sit, most things were over the counter, and the yarns they had were mainly European or distributed by big companies. The woman was very friendly but she did not speak English, (nor French nor Spanish by the way) so we visited the store and off we went.
We were told that most European stores (at least the continental ones) are like this, and for our experience in Paris it seems that it's true.

Another view of Coats

Coats booth