Thanks to late season snow this weekend, I was able to completely indulge in being back home! I read a delightful new book that I had bought right before we left for Europe. I didn't have time to start reading it before the trip and decided to leave it behind. So, Saturday morning, I started the fire in the fireplace, made a cup of tea, grabbed a heating pad to keep my toes toasty warm and started knitting a baby blanket for my niece, Seana. She loves sunflowers and seems to be subconsciously transfering that preference to her choice of colors for her new baby. Since my favorite Moderne Baby Blanket is just knit in garter stitch, I'm able to read and knit at the same time! What a perfect weekend!
The trade show in Cologne was an overwhelming success!! I took many, many photos which is why it has taken several days to get everything organized. Rather than overwhelm you with the whole thing at once, I plan on spreading the experience out over a few blogs.
We arrived in Cologne on Tuesday, April 1st. Lufthansa flies directly from Portland, Oregon to Frankfurt so all we had to do was catch a train to Cologne.
It turns out that socks were the perfect choice for this trip. I spent most of the flight listening to Pillars of the Earth while I knit round and round and round. And, of course, asked the flight attendant for more water every chance I got.
Our hotel in Cologne was literally just across the cathedral square from the train station. Talk about convenient. We took some time unpack because I knew the surge of "arrival" energy would disappear quickly and we would crash. After a short walk, Bob and I took a nap and then met Roop, Rashme and Ashok for a simple dinner.
Roop is the owner of the company that makes our Options needles, Rashme is his friend and Ashok is Roop's cousin. Ashok has lived in Germany for over forty years so he was extremly helpful. And, he had a car to shuttle us back and forth between the hotel and the convention center.
Wednesday morning we woke up around 8:00 and headed down for breakfast. What I love most about traveling in Northern Europe are the breakfasts. Sturdy, filling food that really gets you through the morning. Which was a good thing because we had to get the booth set up and ready for the show to start on Thursday. My favorite breakfast items are the hearty breads.
Then, we were off to the Convention Center!
This was my first trade show so I was ridiculously excited and very worried about how the Options Needles would be received. The booth certainly looked bare when we arrived!!
Time to get to work! Ashok unpacked the display units for the needles. Rashme and I set up the "knitting" tables. Bob and Roop got all the yarns, needles and handouts organized.
The plan was to have a nice place for knitter's to sit down and try out the Options needles for themselves. We would have several 24" needles all ready with yarn. I shipped some Wool of the Andes worsted and some Cadena so we could show how easy it was to switch from small needles to bigger needles depending on the yarn. My tactical error was that I forgot Cadena comes in skeins rather than balls. So Rashme and I had to spend a chunk of time balling up a couple of skeins to be ready for Thursday.
Roop and Rashme brought Bob and I gifts. I received a lovely silk shawl and matching purse. Bob got a Nehru style vest that actually turned out to be very useful since the weather was cold in Cologne. I think he looks very good in his vest!
After three hours, we were satisfied with the booth. Time for some food! I had a craving for apple streudal and Bob and I had seen a very nice cafe on our walk Tuesday afternoon. Ashok explained that apple streudal was even better slathered with warm custard sauce. With a cup of hot tea, I had a perfect lunch!
With full tummies, we headed off to visit a local knitting shop that carries the Options needles. Oh, I can't tell you how nice it felt to walk into a fiber haven complete with a comfy sofa! Daniela (on the left) said we could stay as long as we wanted but I didn't think she really wanted a snoring, jet-lagged American stretched out in the middle of her shop. So, we headed back to the hotel for a much needed nap! Whew, that was a busy day!