Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sadness, Happiness, and New Challenges

Those who know me know that my life revolves around my dogs. So it is with sadness that I had to say goodby to my beautiful Champion Westerness Arwen Karu who at only 10 years of age had gotten cancer. Her children miss her as I do since not only was she beautiful inside and out, but she was the leader. But as I have learned over the many years I've been in dogs, the time we have with them is a gift. We bring them into the world and see them out and I held her as she was born and as she died. Her children who I have here, Harry Potter, Seamus, and Brigid are all a delight and just as beautiful as their mother.

Birth also keeps me busy. My friend Kathy Queen's Newfoundland, Moriah, took a leave from her work as part of Connecticut Canine Search and Rescue to have 10 puppies. There were 7 blacks and 3 Landseerers. Due to complications they had to be hand fed which meant all dog friends got to roll up their sleeves and pitch in. But it was worth every minute since they are all big beautiful babies. And do I mean big! For someone
who is use to Samoyeds, a Newf pup who is 10 lbs. at 5 weeks of age is an armful. You lift 10 of them to have their portraits taken and you really feel it.

Mariah is beginning to enjoy them more now that they want to play. They are quite a handful now. Though a number will be going to show homes, hopefully there is a future search dog among them to work with mom.

Knitting is ongoing here, but the sweater patterns will soon be made available through knitting shops around the country. Since Peggy has designed over 100 breeds, that gives practically everyone who knits a chance to create one of these sweaters. It might just be the insentive to get people to start knitting. It is the fastest growing craft out there now.

So keep checking with your local yarn shop and they'll be available soon. In the mean time, if you're impatient, you can order them from Kanine Knits directly by email or phone numbers posted at

And not to be outdone with patterns brochures, and sweaters to knit for clients, the finishing touches are being put on the next in the crafty dog book series, The Crafty Labrador Retriever - Knits. This is being revised and proof read but will be coming out soon with many patterns of Labs hunting, showing in breed, in obedience and agility, with even excited Labs going all out in flyball. It's tons of fun and lots of knitting. Watch for the announcement on the webpage as soon as the publication date is set. I've be lucky to have some wonderful people working on this with me.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

February is much to short a month especially if you are busy as we are here. The big push for the month was the trip to NYC for Westminster. I had agreed to display my sweaters in the Hotel Pennsylvania and there in lies a tale.

I'll tell you, there is nothing like being in NYC in a blizzard. It is probably the only time that that bustling city is ever quiet. On Sunday morning on my way to church I was able to stand in the middle of 32nd. Street and not see a vehicle or person moving. It was so impressive. That mighty city - so quiet.

As you can see, I had a spectacular view from my hotel window. The Penn is a very old hotel without a lot of amenities, but it has a great location, across the street from Penn. Station and Madison Square Garden. It meant that I could travel to the show by train with all my sweaters in suitcases, and just cross the street to get to my destination. And speaking of trains, let me say here and now that the Red Caps who work the Amtrak Train Stations are the best. I dealt with four of them over the trip and they made the whole travel experience a joy. They go the extra mile to make sure that you and your luggage get where you're going and they do it with courtesy and charm.

My booth was located on the lower level of the hotel as part of the Green Room/Paws Mall experience. This is where all the top competing dogs come to be bathed, massaged, exercised, jogged, and understood by a psychic and where the owners come to shop for gold jewelry, portraits, hand embroidered pictures, or in my case, custom knit sweaters. The place was full of dogs, handlers, and owners all weekend because of the number of specialties and up to Tuesday when everyone who hadn't won was headed home.

There were beautiful dogs everywhere. The great dogs and those who will be great all passed by. The media was everywhere and I even was interviewed by a reporter/cameraman from Fox News 5 New York and chatted with a producer from MSNBC. But the most fun I had with the media is when I turned on Fox 5 News at Ten on Monday night and during their "New York Minute" about Westminster saw my booth and sweaters. As the Amtrak Red Cap said, "You've arrived."

So for those who want to get the inside experience of Westminster next year, without the crush of the Garden, stroll over to the Penn and go down to where the great dogs are prepared for the competition.

There was even entertainment in the form of "Leroy, the Painting Dog." Leroy is a very talented rescue dog whose owner has taught him to spell, he responds to commands that are spelled out. He's also learned to paint where he will select a color paint with his brush and paint away at the easel in a manner that would have him fitting in to any kindergarten classroom.

Of course the fun of such a trip is meeting all the really wonderful owners who visited my booth. It's an experience I love, being able to talk to fellow dog fanciers and work with them to create unique sweaters that show their love of their dog. It's also fun when they come up with questions that challenge my design skills and allow me to create new designs. They are the fire that keeps this business lively.

It also gave me a chance to talk about the forthcoming books and get input and offers of photos and articles to enhance them. The Crafty Labrador Retriever - Knits is in its final stages with the books for Newfs, Goldens, Corgis and Bichon close behind.

The Connecticut River Working Group Association shows at the Big E in W. Springfield, MA will be the next time I'll have my sweater booth out. It's on the weekend of March 18 & 19. I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A New Year Has Begun

Well, the holidays are over so I getting back on an even keel. Most people think of this time of year as time off, whereas if you create handmade garments for those who love to give them to doglovers for Christmas, this is crunch time.

January brought a trip to Tampa last week to show my sweaters at the AKC Eukanuba National Championship. It was a delight to have so many people who have bought my sweaters in the past come and tell me how much they liked them. Some even came to model them and tell their friends where they got them. The best recomendation is a satisfied client.
I was able to talk to people about the new books that are being written. I would show them the sample of The Crafty Samoyed - Knits and then told them what I was doing with the Lab, Golden, Corgi, Newf, Bichon books and telling them also that I'm looking for photos to include of all these dogs. The books are scheduled to be published during the spring and summer, with the designs ready and only the lack of photos holding things back. I'm still looking for photos of these dogs doing hunting, agility, obedience, herding, retrieving, water rescue, etc.
The National Championship was laid out differently this year where I, with many of the vendors, was on the first floor and all the judging on the third floor. What this meant was that I didn't get to see any of the judging. I was delighted, though, that BIS went to that beautiful Malamute "Costello" who was breeder/owner/handled. For those of us who show in bred-by, this was a wonderful achievement. Of course it helped that he was a truly magnificent Mal.
Taking first place in the Meet the Breed competition, the Samoyed booth was a true winner as they have been in the past. The Florida sammy fanciers really knock themselves out to represent the breed in all its traditions. This year they were even in costume that set the theme.
One has only to look at these scenes to travel to the frozen north and the homes of the Sammy people.
The painted backdrop was outstanding. My favorite part was the almost mystical drawing of the Samoyed headstudy that seemed to be looking down from the northern lights on our Sams today.

This was a job well done and the team is to be congratulated. The public truly understood the world of the Samoyed.

I got to meet some of the stars of the show. The beautiful Bichon that went BOS came to visit my booth and show me that a beautiful smile is worth a million.

I also got to know Doodle the wonderful standard poodle who won an ACE Award for working with children who have special needs. This is quite a dog.

So now I'm home and knitting and writing the knitting books that need to be to the printer soon. Never a dull minute.

Enjoy the photos.