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Friday, 30 May 2014

GOOGLE HANGOUT with Loveknitting

Max and Tanya ready to 'hangout'
The social media world is such an exciting place right now! With almost everyone I know snapping on Instagram, posting on Pinterest, sharing and journaling on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger it feels as though we have never been quite so intimately involved in each others lives. I am all
for it! On a personal level it means that I am only ever a snap or comment away from making contact with friends and family, but in terms of business (and more specifically our yarn business) it is invaluable in reaching out to our customers on a global level.

Little did I know when I agreed to take part in a Google Hangout with loveknitting, that I would be stepping into another social media side avenue. I know I thought (mistakenly) that perhaps I would be sat behind my computer, 'hanging out' digitally and invisibly, maybe answering questions and making comments in a forum style chat room. Oh how wrong I was! A Google Hangout is as far from invisible chatting as one can possibly get, being a live video stream with 'conference' facilities - where others are able to watch, interact and participate too!

So it was with a little trepidation that Tanya and I arrived at the loveknitting offices in Denmark Street yesterday, wondering what the afternoon had in store for us. We were well prepared with samples, swatches and Carly had forwarded us an idea of the sorts of questions she would be asking, but that didn't help with the nagging thoughts at the back of our minds that we would get tongue tied and forget how to speak!

The loveknitting conference room is filled with yarny delights!

The loveknitting team made us so welcome though, and after a tour of LK HQ we made our way into their lovely, airy conference room and settled down in front of a huge monitor ready to 'hangout'. It is always an unsettling experience to see or hear yourself on television I think, and seeing yourself in 'real time' is even odder, but Tanya and I soon eased into it with some gentle guidance from the very able Carly. We chatted, laughed a lot, I coughed a bit, showed some of our samples and I demonstrated one of my all time favourite techniques (yes, mattress stitch!), and before we had a chance to even think about the time, an hour of hanging out was done.

We can't ever resist a selfie - especially when we're on the tv!

It was only on the way back to the tube that I realised I had actually enjoyed the whole experience! I wasn't shaking or dry mouthed and I distinctly remember saying to Carly that we could always come along again when we launch some exciting new products in July, or even for a Christmas special . . .
The lovely Klara Kimono and my colourful Elk Cushion, oh and us!

If you'd like to see just exactly what our Goggle Hangout looked like, then you can see it all on Youtube here. And finally, we'd like to thank the amazing team at loveknitting for asking us to be a part of their first ever Google Hangout - it was super-good fun!
(posted by Max)

Friday, 23 May 2014

OUT AND ABOUT - Helena at Broad Ripples, Indianapolis

I was really fortunate to be invited to visit Broad Ripples yarn store in Indianapolis for my very first trunk show appearance in the US! Having been at TNNA, it was a treat to be able to relax with some passionate knitters, and with Karin, the store owner who was so welcoming and friendly - and runs a truly beautiful shop!

As you will know, MillaMia is distributed in the US by Classic Elite Yarns and I was also very lucky to be accompanied by Joan, the local CEY rep. She was a such a help to me, not only in organising everything but I had a small disaster just before the store visit - I managed to drop my mobile/cell phone into a sink of water 20 minutes before we were due to leave! In the car on the way to the store the screen went from 50% blurred to 100% dead and it was emitting a lot of heat. Joan rushed out and got me an emergency bag of rice - which I have to say, saved the day (and my phone!) - thanks Joan!

It was immediately evident to me that Broad Ripples is set in the middle of a thriving crafting community, with lots of loyal customers and an incredibly friendly knitting group. After making me feel at ease, I started to talk a bit about my design process and the samples I had brought with me. The trunk show consisted of garments from Little Rascals which went down really well, but I also chatted with the knitters and offered some advice on projects and colour choices.

The ladies had lots of great ideas about colour - I love the fact people feel they can be a bit more daring with colour and not just for kids items either. There was an Emma Boatneck in progress in Midnight and Lime which looked fantastic- I really hope the lovely knitter who is making this will share some pictures of her Emma when it's finished. Also there was a fair amount of brokering going on over the yarns which were low in stock - for example, I heard a conversation between two ladies -  "If you let me have your Storm I will let you have my Plum, so we can both start our most important projects till the delivery comes in next week"!

I can't possibly write about this lovely visit without mentioning the delicious food that Karin provided. The most yummy homemade lemonade and chocolate brownies made with a Hershey's bar baked in the middle might just be the best thing I have ever eaten!

Lastly, a special thanks to Joan - the rice worked and after 4 days of drying out my phone is now working again :)
(posted by Helena)

Friday, 9 May 2014

TNNA Roundup

It's a long way to go for only a few days, but every year TNNA comes around and we are excited all over again to visit this amazing show in the US. Having moved its location this year to Indianapolis I was intrigued to see what this city was like, although it reality the Show is so busy that we have very little time to take in any of the local sights and sounds!

We actually arrived very late on Friday, and as usual had a great deal to do to be ready for the first day of the Show, the following day. This year we had planned a dramatic change to the look of the booth and this did bring a few teething problems with it. Luckily, Betsy Perry of CEY came to the rescue, helping us with attaching the handpainted backdrops which were to be the big hit of this particular show.

A smaller show with lower footfall than last year, it was still well attended and we were certainly thrilled to be able to catch up with so many friends and stockists met at previous shows. It always strikes me how small our world of yarn really is, which makes these events feel so friendly and welcoming. There was a good contingent from the UK this year including our friends from Pom Pom Magazine - Meghan and Lydia, Verity of Baa Ram Ewe, the Loveknitting team and Jeni of Fyberspates.

Our 'Most Creative Booth'

Excitingly we managed to have delicious breakfast meetings with the wonderful Loop guys, Craig and Laura and on another occasion with the delightful Olga Buraya-Kefelien and Meri from amirisu. You can see just how much we all enjoyed these particular 'meetings'!

The girls with Meri of amirusu and Olga Buraya-Kefelien

I could get used to this . . .

We met so many new faces - designers, yarn store owners and other yarny people that it's difficult to remember all of them! I must say that meeting Tricia Malcolm of Vogue Knitting, Melynda Bernardi (aka FrenchPress Knits), Tottopper, Jenifer Stark (aka bluealvarez) and Jill Zielinski (aka knitterella) were particular highlights for me. Both Helena and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the new Limited Edition colours for A/W14 which were so well received, but it's also still such a joy to show our well-established patterns and yarn to prospective new customers and seeing just how much they love what we do.

Of course I can't talk about TNNA without mentioning that MillaMia won an award this year! We were overjoyed and surprised to win the prestigious 'Most Creative Booth' award which not only ensured we have a magnificent trophy to display in the office, but free advertising in next years catalogue! I want to sincerely thank Helena for her vision for this amazing idea but also our incredibly talented intern Tanya Leskinen who hand painted ALL of the backdrops - a stupendous job which I know took lots of time and skill - Tanya you are awesome!!

(posted by Katarina)

Friday, 2 May 2014


It is so inspiring to us in the MillaMia team to see our designs out in the world, and interpreted in ways that we couldn't have ever foreseen! The skill and vision that our customers and stockists have in reproducing a garment from one of the collections, but in a way that looks unique and fresh is something that always excites me.

And so this week I wanted to share with you the most incredible version of the Carlota Dress - one of my personal favourites - knitted by the lovely Lucy Bush from Woolaballoo. Lucy very kindly agreed to answer some questions about her beautiful Carlota and share some pics - thanks Lucy!

1) What inspired your Rainbow Carlota and who is the lucky recipient?
I completely fell in love with the Limited Edition colours and new Berry shade in the Millamia collection and wanted to start a project where I could integrate all of the gorgeous vibrant colourways. I have knit it for my daughter Alice who is often at Woolaballoo with me and so she can show it off in person!

 2) How long did it take you to knit it?
Overall it didn't take me that long to knit as the stripe pattern kept my interest but I actually made it alongside a number of other projects as I can never stick to one thing at a time! I think if I had done it all in one go it would probably have taken me about a week to complete.

3) How many balls of yarn did it take and do you now have LOTS of left overs in all of the colours?
It took 10 balls of yarn for the age 2-3 but I reckon there is enough yarn left over to create another whole dress by changing the colourways around!

4) As well as another Carlota, any pattern suggestions for using up your scraps?
I may also use the scraps up to fashion another Millamia favourite of mine which is the Teddy Blanket which is a really easy knit for a novice and again is a simple striped pattern ideal for using up all those oddments. I have also downloaded your Smilla Hat pattern which is another great little design for using up all those bits and pieces.

 5) I have to ask if the thought of sewing in all those ends gave you sleepless nights? And, dare I ask, how long did that part take?
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be in the end but my advice would be to do this bit as you go along as it is a bit of a chore when you just want to show it off!

If you are as inspired by Lucy's Rainbow Carlota Dress as I am, and have a special little girl to knit one for, then Lucy has made up some special kits with all of the yarn required! Give Lucy a call at the shop on 0191 580 0103 - she's always happy to help out.

(posted by Max)