Monday, November 22, 2010

A Day in the Candy Shop

Hello all!

It has been crazycakes in the Bee Line-Townsend world!  The orders for cassettes and cutters have been pouring in, and we've been able to ship some cassettes.  Orders with cutter bodies should start going out this week, we're waiting on our sticker to put on the new Cutter Caddy, of all things.

However, I did get to go on a very fun field trip last Friday - the first leg of my journey as a Rookie Hooker!  First, I stopped at one of our storefronts, The Woolen Needle, in Williamsburg, Iowa.  I have pictures, I need to download them at home and post tonight.  Carla, Annette and Julie have a beautiful shop, chock full of goodies and customers.  I didn't get to stay nearly as long as I wanted, because I needed to get on the next leg of my journey, but long enough to know I will need to make a return trip soon. 

Then, my husband drove to our next stop - Altoona, Iowa, where Sharon Townsend opened up her lovely home to us.  Steve Woodward, the VP of Operations for Bee Line Company, Katie Lane, and Dean, the engineer at Townsend, were there as well.  We all chatted about the new product, and stood gawking at Sharon's beautiful work.  Her studio is fantastic.  Very light and bright, with bins and bins of neatly folded wool.  I started touching EVERYTHING.  I was like a toddler, touch touch touch.  If you've never met Sharon, let me tell you, she is graciousness personified.  I also got to see the lovely Katie Lane again.  Double Bonus!

Sharon, Katie and me. And loads and loads of gorgeous wool. 
It looks like my arm is around Katie, but I
might have my hand in a bin of wool.  Don't tell.

Then, we made the guys pose for a picture, Dean on the left and Steve on the right:

I don't think they were touching any of the wool.
Apparently I am the only one with boundary issues.

I talked with Sharon about how she got started, and different projects she is working on, and some of her favorite pieces.  There is joy in that studio, this I know for sure.

After seeing Sharon and Katie and crew, my husband and I drove to our final destination, the Iowa Junior Honors Orchestra in Ames, home of our alma mater Iowa State University, where our 8th grader was playing.  A perfect end to a perfect day.

Thanks for your e-mailed suggestions so far!  It's so helpful!

Weird weather today - is it warm in Iowa, with a cold front coming in, so there is a Tornado Watch right now.  Hopefully this dissipates by Thanksgiving!  Happy travels and a terrific holiday to everyone.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Alive... It's Alive!

It's a pretty exciting day here at Bee Line-Townsend!  After days and days of waiting, the website is finally live!  You can now order your Bee Line-Townsend cutter products on our website.  This has been a bit like having a baby and going past your due date, except this time my mother-in-law isn't going to send me flowers with my husband's name on them.

SO.  Enough about cutters.  I need to get to work with some hooking.  I have a few people who are willing to teach me, but none of them are local so I have to wait until I see them.  I have never been known for my patience, and I cannot stop thinking about hooking.  Here is my dilemma - there aren't any shops that I know of nearby, and I want to buy a hook and some rudimentary supplies.  I know there aren't many readers here yet, but if any of you who may stumble across this site have some tips for me, I need to know:

What are the startup essentials for a Rookie Hooker?

Where do I get them?

Do you recommend starting with a kit?

I already have access to the best possible cutter and cassettes, so I can cut any width strips.  Let me know what I need beyond that.  I look to you, wise hookers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Can Brown Do For Us?

Today at Bee Line Townsend we are having a training session with UPS to see what Brown can do for us to ship all those cutters and cassettes people are wanting.  Mr. Brown did not bring any snacking items, so already Brown did not do something for me, but he seems like a nice guy.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking to a few of our storefronts who sell the Bee Line Townsend products for us.  They are all terrific people, and I wish I could be in each one of their shops.  One customer I spoke with today found out I am originally from Fremont, Nebraska, and she is in Papillion, and told me about a wonderful shop in the Valley, Nebraska area called The Rug Hooking Store.  She described all of the amazing wool and tools, and it's all I can do to not get in my car and drive there and start touching things.

I can tell already that this is going to be a dangerous interest.  My husband should be cringing.

I like to do tile mosaic work, but I only like to use vintage china plates, particularly state plates.  I frequent Goodwill and the Salvation Army and garage sales, and lug home stacks of plates.  There is a room in my basement, the Mom Cave, and it is chock full of plates, waiting for me to take my aggression out on them in a big plate breaking session.  I'd better get breaking, because I can already see the future, and it is in bins of beautiful wool, waiting to be stripped into worms.

Since my candy shop is still off-limits to me, I guess I'll go see what Brown can do to get your equipment to you.  But I want to see pictures of the finished products!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Exciting week!

I've had such an exciting week here at Bee Line Townsend!

I finally met the amazing Katie Lane, who shared some of her homemade granola with me.  Let me tell you, that stuff is Ah-Maze-Ing.  Yum.  Anyone who shares their granola is okay by me.  Katie and Shari and I had a terrific two days, contacting storefronts who sell the Townsend Cutter and getting them the info about the new Bee Line Townsend Cutter.  It was great getting to "meet" some of you!

Here is a picture of the new Bee Line Townsend Cutter, or as I like to call it "The BLT":
Wool, meet the BLT.  BLT, cut the wool.

As you can see, the new cutter is black instead of chrome, but otherwise it is just the same.  Katie brought her cutter and a #8, and she used a new #8 in her cutter and an old #8 in the new cutter, and it was all cutting like butter.  We were really pleased.

Here is some increadibly gorgeous dyed wool Katie brought that we ran through the new cutter.  The picture does it no justice at all, that wool was beautiful.
I joked with Katie that I am the Luke Skywalker to her Yoda. 
If Yoda was really pretty and made great granola.

My time with Katie was too short - she is such a wealth of information!  She returned home yesterday after two days together, but I'm looking forward to her return, as she is going to show me some rug hooking tips to get me started on my Rookie Hooker journey!  She had a lovely rabbit design started by Sharon Townsend with her, only the head was done and I think she said the wool was cut with a #4.  Just lovely.  I can't wait to get started, but I have no illusions that my projects are going to look ANYTHING like that rabbit head for a long time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let the Journey Begin!

Hi!  I'm Julie, and I'm the new Marketing Specialist for Bee Line Townsend products.  Townsend is a well-respected name in the rug hooking industry, especially known for the Townsend cutter.  We at Bee Line Company in Bettendorf, Iowa were very fortunate to acquire the Townsend line of rug hooking equipment after the Townsend Company closed last spring.  Now, I get to help bring the original Townsend line of products back to the market with their new home at Bee Line Company.  Literally 40 feet behind me, right now, people are assembling Bee Line Townsend Cutters.  It's so exciting!  When we are ready to take orders, which will be very soon, I will post the link on this blog.

I'm excited to meet many of you in the rug hooking industry, and I'm eager to get started on my own rug hooking projects.  My first step?  Finding an instructor.  If anyone knows of instructors in Eastern Iowa or Western Illinois, please let me know.  Until then, I'm devouring my rug hooking books and may try to start a project on my own - *gasp* - I'm thinking about the head of my Standard Poodle, George, in a pop art form.  This blog is my forum for not only sharing my journey as a Rookie Hooker, but as a forum for tips and advice from you, the experienced Hookers!